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THE Education of an Art Director
edited by Steven Heller and Véronique Vienne
ALLWORTH PRESS NEW YORK
Dedicated to Frank Zachary, art director, editor, patron of artists, designers, photographers, and art directors
© 2006 Steven Heller and Véronique Vienne All rights reserved. Copyright under Berne Copyright Convention, Universal Copyright Convention, and Pan-American Copyright Convention. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior permission of the publisher. 09 08 07 06 05 5 4 3 2 1
Published by Allworth Press An imprint of Allworth Communications, Inc. 10 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 Cover design by James Victore Interior design by XXXXXX Page composition/typography by SR Desktop Services, Ridge, NY Cover Photo Credit: XXXXXXXXXXXXX ISBN: 1-58115-XXX-XX
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Printed in Canada
On the Phenomenon Known as Art Direction A Conversation between Steven Heller and Véronique Vienne
xvii Made Not Born: Becoming an Art Director Steven Heller
01. Can Art Direction Be Taught?
1 4 6 Editorializing: Directing Others to See What You See Véronique Vienne Art Direction with Materials at Hand: Studies in Word and Image Heather Corcoran and D. B. Dowd The Ten Rules of Design: Eyetracking Guidelines Roger Black
02. Can Anyone Become an Art Director?
9 Coming of Age: From Ms. to Martha Lauren Monchik 12 A Girl for the Job: The Most Unlikely Sports Chick Nancy Cohen 20 Of Men and Monks: The Art of Storytelling Sunita Khosla 23 I Would Have Fired Me: Bad Typography at Interview Magazine Steven Heller
03. Are All Art Directors Alike?
27 On the Film Set: Making It Happen for the Camera A Conversation with Lilly Kilvert
Is Art Direction Design? 75 Design vs. How Do Art Directors Collaborate with Others? 115 Art Directing Illustration: How to Astonish Me Steven Heller . Left Brain A Conversation with Ronn Campisi 45 A Neat Job: A Media Agnostic in a Branded World A Conversation with Brian Collins 04 Is an Art Director an Editor? 49 Make It Big—and Fill 140 Uninterrupted Pages Rhonda Rubinstein 59 Editorial Director Par Excellence: Alexander Liberman Véronique Vienne 65 Creating Content: Giving Design a “Voice” A Conversation with Drew Hodges and Gail Anderson 05.31 The Idea Factory: An Assembly Line for Creativity A Conversation with Alex Bogusky 33 The Curator as Art Director: Designing a Conceptual Exhibition Laetitia Wolff 37 Visual DNA: The Global and Local Image of Kiehl’s A Conversation with Victoria Maddocks 39 Magazines vs. Art Direction: A Question of Character More Than Training A Conversation with Dimitri Jeurissen 79 Less Is More: Art Directing a Magazine about Design A Conversation with Emily Potts and Michael Ulrich 84 The Philosophical Approach: Turning No into Yes A Conversation with Ken Carbone 87 The Editor’s Choice: Designer or Art Director? A Conversation with Robert Priest and Peggy Northrop 94 What Matters: A Brain Full of Visual Images A Conversation with Vince Frost 06. Newspapers: Right Brain. Do You Want to Be an Art Department Manager? 97 Reality Check: Managing an Art Department Ina Salz 104 Publishing Headaches: Getting Everyone Onboard (Including Authors’ Wives) A Conversation with John Gall 111 The Grind and the Grid: Nothing Left to Chance A Conversation with Stéphane Bréabout 07.
” “Don’t Be Vague.119 The Photo Shoot: How to Set the Stage Phyllis Cox 123 Common Vision: The Role of the Picture Editor A Conversation with Elisabeth Biondi 126 How to Talk to an Illustrator: Tips from Two Pros Vicki Morgan and Gail Gaynin 128 The Ideal Client: Letting Others Do Their Job A Conversation with Louise Fili and Chip Fleischer 133 How to Be Hip: Surviving a Fashion Shoot Scott Hawley 08. When Is the Editor an Art Director? 159 The Editor as Visual Freak: A Paper Manifesto A Conversation with Kim Hastreiter and Peter Buchanan-Smith 168 The Woman Who Was ELLE: Hélène Gordon-Lazareff Véronique Vienne 174 Art Paul: Branding Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Steven Heller 181 Mind Over Emotions: Martha Stewart Living’s Secret Codes Véronique Vienne . No Commerce A Conversation with Benjamin Savignac 149 Judging Excellence: An Unscientific Affair Véronique Vienne 09.” and More Sharon Okamoto 156 Cover Garbage: Who’s to Blame? Steven Heller 10. Is There an Art to Art Direction? 139 Aesthetics as Content: The Curse of the D Word Steven Heller 142 Sense and Sensibility: Art Directing a “Vibe” Véronique Vienne 144 The Signature Style: Pros and Cons Steven Heller 146 How to Be Your Own Client: All Art. Is It “Us” Against “Them”? 151 Art Directing Editors: Four Brief Scenarios Steven Heller 154 Peacekeeping Tips: “Keep Them in the Loop.
11. Who Remembers the Good Old Days? 185 New York in the Fifties: When Madison Avenue Was Montparnasse Steven Heller 195 A Good Question: Does Experience Still Matter? A Conversation with Bob Ciano 199 It’s a Wonderful Life: The Art of Being Frank Zachary Steven Heller 209 Contributor Biographies Index 214 .
mentors. and creative people who contributed so generously to this volume by taking the time to talk to us and share their insight and passion. Monica Lugo. publicity director. series. publishers.Acknowledgments Thanks to all the art directors. and Michael Madole. We are particularly grateful to those who sat down at their keyboard and committed to words their thoughts. and observations. designers. senior editor. editors. Indeed. The dedication of our contributors confirmed our suspicion that everyone comes to art direction with a sense of purpose and mission. Also. art direction is a métier that is not easily learned but acquired through experience and through the examples set by celebrated role models. publisher. Thanks to our editors at Allworth Press: Nicole Potter. for his continued enthusiastic support of this entire Education of . . tips of our hats to James Victore for his cover and interior design. associate editor. Much gratitude to Tad Crawford. . and peers. —SH and VV vii . beliefs.
only to discover. employs art directors. or can.” Back then. I tried to hang on to both positions. Every magazine. That’s how one can tell whether an art director is trained or self-taught: his or her handling of type. before becoming a writer. You were one for fifteen years. The one thing I wished I had learned was typography. I didn’t know what an art director was. I had assembled a huge collection of European design magazines. fifteen years into a slapdash career as an exhibit/product/packaging designer. it is a huge profession. neither did you. I still can’t figure out how I pulled it off. the second as assistant to the assistant of the assistant of the art director of Vogue magazine. and learned by making so many mistakes I am overcome with embarrassment in hindsight. How do you think art direction should. I stumbled into a job and learned by trial and error. etc.Foreword On the Phenomenon Known as Art Direction A Conversation between Steven Heller and Véronique Vienne Steven Heller: Educationally speaking. At the time.. One day I took a deep breath and decided to dump the third dimension cold turkey and go 2-D—into “flat” design—in order to indulge my passion for glossy pages reeking with the smell of ink and varnish. which I dragged along with me wherever I moved. Do you agree with me that typography is the one essential skill a designer needs to acquire in order to eventually develop into a great art director? ix . book publisher. the first as part-time art director of Interiors magazine. that what I liked best about design was looking at the work of other architects and designers in magazines such as Domus and Graphis. advertising agency. Even though I’ve never seen a class devoted to it. newspaper. I haphazardly studied architecture and industrial design. But how do you become one? I’ve been an art director for thirty-five years (from when I was seventeen years old and still counting). record company. with emphasis on error. be taught? Véronique Vienne: My story is similar to yours. I landed two jobs. I boldly looked for a job as a “magazine designer. I never went to school to learn how to be one. in order to support myself and my daughter. art direction is a curious phenomenon.
But I think we need to start with the operative word in the basic title: art. I can hire others to make type work. So maybe I am just fantasizing. SH: I have to admit.” “graphic communications director. As an art director. But this book features “art director” in its title. or produce illustrations. It’s not so much what they have learned that makes the difference. I was never an accomplished connoisseur of type. When you luck into a job you don’t always come with a full skill set. in this new media world. wherein type is usually not an issue. And there are many job descriptions that sometimes make the title seem like many jobs. or take photographs. all things considered. Moreover. many advertising art directors are more concerned with the look of commercials. but the fact that they have spent a lot of time staring at letterforms in relationship to one another. but I can’t make it sing the way this person can. That said. I believe that typography is the foremost skill necessary in all of design. Just the other day I hired a great typographer to finesse a cover that I had done in a rudimentary fashion. Are they the same as corporate or interactive art directors? These Talmudic distinctions can take pages to explain (and we’ll do that in the body of this book). But I question whether an art director needs to be an entirely skillful typographer. in fact sadly so. that I did not know type when I became an art director and have never really mastered the craft. But how else can you acquire the skills you are going to need to combine words and images on the same surface—in such a way as to communicate ideas? Do you think that. but I can’t play any of the instruments well. I can set a page of type. I can orchestrate. Do you think this is a detriment? Do you believe that an art director is in a curiously jaded position? Or is the art director I’m describing a charlatan? VV: Okay. now we really have to start defining what an art director really is. we also call this position “creative director. For example.” and other honorifics. Sure. their idiosyncrasies.Everything else can be learned on the job—if you have talent—but understanding type is something you cannot fake. Art directors are much more than mere layout artists! But art directors with a knowledge of type history and a familiarity with old and new typefaces—their graphic characteristics. but not all). Typography is training for the eye—with a concern for readability. being a photographer or an illustrator is as good a place to start? SH: Well. and their limitations—usually have a sharper sense of what a page is all about. Then there are book art directors. balance. So what do we mean by art in this context? You ask whether an art director should also be a photographer or illustrator (or filmmaker. is an advertising art director the same as an editorial one? I don’t think that advertising ADs really focus on type (some do. for x . if at all.” “design director. impact.
does it encourage people to get together and share ideas and opinions? In other words. stimulating. I also agree with you that we need to define in broad terms what is art direction. I love the chef analogy. That is the title of Elisabeth Biondi. records. The art director must develop a “menu” (or some might call it a “toolbox”) of visual concepts and formats that can be applied by all who work under him or her and that establishes the personality or aura of the entity being art directed. of the restaurant and the chef creates a menu that adheres to that theme. Art is such a scary word for most Americans. Your point is well taken. appetizing. like a great meal. who are. I think that the relationship between word people and image people would be greatly improved if we could get rid of the “A” word. or visuals coordinator. advertising are more oneof-a-kind. I would love to borrow her title for art directors. If we first address the issue of art then we might be able to determine how best to evolve into an art director. Unless. you are Mario Batali or Jean-Georges who are both editor and art director. In fact. should we try to define what he or she produces? SH: You are so French. Maybe we should compare an art director to a chef who must be able to cook up a meal with whatever ingredients are available. Indeed the art director. So you can rest your case! Typography is not a major issue. and the chef must be fairly eclectic or accept eclecticism from the sous-chefs. Books. I realize how perfectly apt this analogy is. works with many ingredients and various sous-chefs. And. or whatever we will eventually call this field. like the New York Times Book Review—yes. As I say this. VV: I am afraid that talking about art in the context of art direction is opening up an even bigger Pandora’s box. For the owner sets the tone. I think an art director has to be a jack of many trades before becoming an overseer of art. So let’s talk about the product.” By the way. The only difference—and correct me if I’m wrong—is the editor. and. but then surprise is also wanted (like the “specials” of the day). instead of trying to define what an art director does. of course. I presume you would say that the proprietor (owner) is the editor. I am a firm believer that the title “visuals editor” is a much better way to describe the profession. Is it visually exciting. “editors” more than “directors. The end result is what matters. or theme. who is the visuals editor at the New Yorker. then you conceive the theme and oversee the product (food) as well. in my mind at least. nourishing.that matter). xi . your magazine—it is a well-designed publication that doesn’t require the art director to be a maverick typographer. A magazine is closer to a restaurant insofar as there are so many ingredients that must fuse together into an identifiable whole (like the “specialty of the house”). the New Yorker is a magazine where typography is not center stage.
no matter what. the role of the art director is to provide visual intelligence. the editor is unclear about the personality of the publication or if the client is under pressure to solve short-term problems. who are often less visually minded? VV: Even though the art director seldom contributes to the content directly. Yet. It is presented in such a way even I wouldn’t read it if I came upon it! In the context of a bad layout. If. So I would say. well articulated. newspaper. But if. relevant. So here we have it. the product he or she xii . Wouldn’t you agree that the prime responsibility of the art director is to think visually? SH: Visual thinking is key. the art director is almost powerless. the entire thing is worthless. or book content per se? How much is this really about packaging? At what levels do art directors control the environment they work in? At what point are they merely the “hands” of others. The latter hears all the instruments in his or her head. What do you think is the art director’s prime responsibility to content and product? VV: Okay. usually produce great visuals. Likewise the art director sees the component parts separately and as a whole and knows the right people to harmonize with. that of an orchestra leader. present the material in ways that are 1) thoughtful and 2) graphically exciting. at least in a less pretentious sounding way. I’ll take the chef analogy one step further before dropping it. even more precisely. This goes back to the chef analogy or. even the most brilliant writing makes no sense at all. it is up to him or her to make the material look smart—inviting. exciting. But the question of content is interesting. How much does an art director contribute to magazine. photography. my experience as an art director—and as a fairly decent cook—have taught me that skillful design without quality content is a bad recipe. Art directors determine the look of things. Often I cringe when I see my own writing in print. and even decoration— or. for instance. The prime responsibility of the art director is to feed readers dishes that are both nutritious and appealing—in other words. How do you do that? That’s a tough question because it all depends on the editorial direction of a magazine or the branding strategy of an advertising campaign. and this is sometimes overlooked by art directors who are trained to make things look good. And this is why an art director must be fluent in the languages of illustration. I’ve taken the analogy as far as I can. or hire and commission others to develop the styles and forms that contribute to that look. be adept at working with all of these genres. In contrast.Anyway. on the other hand. strong ideas. If the packaging of the content is poorly thought out and executed. The thoughtful part—the content—is not as readily visible as the graphic part. typography. readable.
So the overall design. In baseball. with the editor-in-chief in the traditional role of the husband. I have never been in a situation as an art director where my ideas were totally disregarded (there has always been a healthy give and take). Do you think it is possible to have such a sure footing? Or is the job of an art director always compromised by compromise? VV: Invariably—and much to my regret—when trying to assign various roles to the editor and art director of a magazine. Nonetheless. others read words. but most of us read both. art. If the latter is uninteresting. But while the bonds of matrimony are loosening up in real life. no matter how much I might argue that art direction and editing are equal parts of the same whole.” Hence the art director’s content must complement the editor’s content. photography. When looking for an art director’s job. when they collide. That’s my experience. it is almost impossible to be visually intelligent. that’s fine. invariably the editor’s name appears first on the masthead (unless you are Alexander Liberman). Whenever I tried to do what’s called a “save”—to package something in such a way as to hide its structural flaws—the result was always atrocious. I end up with a marriage metaphor. an art director must adjust to different editing methods. one should steer clear of positions that require you just to jump in and try to do your best while the suits are sorting out their options. But putting self-criticism aside. But maybe it’s my failing. the job of art director is easy. in the best of cases. and sometimes even the typography should be. Were you ever able to make silk purses from sow’s ears? SH: Not to be modest. I believe that design must be integrally wedded to editorial content. Some people read images. If all an editor wants is to make the package look good. A smart art director knows how to wed good editorial to superlative visual material. But I don’t think I’ve ever been able to do the “genius” work that some art directors have produced when they have that rare equal footing with an editor. text.is art directing is well articulated. but I think I’ve been responsible for a share of sow’s ears. but I indeed have worked for (and with) editors who wanted different approaches than those I wanted to follow. When visions coincide. mind you. In this type of situation. I have managed to do some work that pleases me in situations where I compromised. with spouses today encouraged to redefine their respective roles to fit their aptitudes and talents. considered “content. in xiii . no amount of good design will make the silk purse. then the sky is the limit as far as creativity and inventiveness is concerned. But “good” is a relative term. and therefore the art director is beholden to the talent and subject to the temperament of the editor. the art director must subsume his or her vision to the boss. Likewise. a pitcher must adjust to different batters’ hitting styles. what you describe raises additional concerns.
then that’s fine too. it helped that Glaser was a partner in New York magazine (with editor Clay Felker and others) and so was indeed on an equal footing. As design director you are the editor-in-chief of your bailiwick—the lord high sheriff of graphic arts. fighting. and more. Cipe Pineles. Bruce Mau. Of course. the late Tibor Kalman. skill. Those I’ve mentioned above are among the leaders. Fred Woodward. But the title opened the door for others with strong personalities and skill sets. Each is or was a designer and art director and their respective visions (and styles) have been deemed important enough to earn them praise from their peers. have received their fair share of bold face in mainstream newspapers. Glaser got the ball rolling by giving himself the title of “design director” (which has also been morphed into “creative director”). We all know great art directors who keep their respective entities functioning above the average. Roger Black. Okay.the world of publishing the bonds of editorial etiquette are still rigidly enforced by the establishment. but more importantly respect in the publishing and advertising worlds. Even the most influential art directors are beholden to someone in charge. but we do need liberated art directors. If it means arguing. Do we need the equivalent of women’s liberation for art directors? Should ADs march in the streets to demand equal pay with editors-in-chief? Equal benefits. Chip Kidd. David Carson. If this means seamless collaboration. or are you also upset by the way ADs are systematically marginalized? SH: I agree that some are marginalized. Neville Brody. But given that art directors are lower on the ladder. they are often in a more precarious creative position. Bradbury Thompson. and bonuses? The right to attend strategy meetings? A say in marketing decisions? Equal opportunity to be invited to pontificate on television? Their names in bold in gossip columns? A spot on the best-dressed list? And full credit for their contribution in the launch or redesign of a magazine? Is it just me.” It further establishes a hierarchy that puts one on a higher level than the other. I don’t think we need an Art Directors Liberation Front. before you cut me off. depending on the specific xiv . but others—indeed a minority— are not. perks. like Alexey Brodovitch. and talent to make a major difference. and over-compensating for the second or third rung on the hierarchical ladder. this person must show enough confidence. But so are the editors. No one is safe from the axe if it is destined to fall. Whatever the title. but it is a more charged alternative to “art director. Henry Wolf. Fabien Baron. so be it. We’ve already said that. This does not take into account great names from the past. So are the publishers. and let’s not forget George Lois and Milton Glaser. The title alone does not make the man. but there are more who are less well known and no less effective. we cannot ignore the facts.
As far as I am concerned. should an art director establish his or her authority? What factors must exist not simply to allow for a smoothly running operation. even if it is counter-intuitive. He or she is valuable as someone who knows who’s who out there in the art world—designers. Thus. I am appalled by the way illustrators. An art director with authority will be able to dictate the terms of that budget. award-winning design makes editors nervous. there are factors beyond the art director’s xv . not the money you make. are compensated for their work for magazines. and be respected as such. an art director can creatively suffer from their ignorance or benefit from their enlightenment. Sure. I believe that one of the purposes of this book is to address how to make the relationships work. stylists. The only way to justify the low fees some creative people receive is to feature their work in a first-rate context. Budget is indeed very important. A good editor or publisher will accept a reasonably high budget for the good of the publication. it is the size of the art department’s budget that will define his or her status in the team. for instance. but for one that encourages the art director to perform brilliantly? VV: The question you raise is so crucial—and the answers so complex— that I am tempted to say: art directors should read this book if they want to stay on the top of their game. in fact. one that has a lot to do with establishing one’s authority. illustrators. is a measure of your authority. When friends call to ask my advice on how to negotiate a salary for an art director’s position. agents. But this all falls under the question of authority. So how. Sure. photographers. it is imperative that the art director provides a well-designed environment in which to showcase the work of contributors. and almost a book unto itself. The art director must act as an impresario—as a talent broker. But it is to the detriment of the artists they hire. Unfortunately. more important than the salary or the title of an art director. there are plenty of art directors who simply want to hang onto their jobs and will do whatever their master says. Sure. Being able to work with other creative types while managing their fragile egos is a very special skill.editor or publisher. But there is one aspect of the job we have not touched on yet. great editorial art directors can come up with wonderful art on almost no money. to attract great talent.” or “too self-conscious?” SH: Let me address the first part of this first. That’s why. Have you ever been in a situation where your design solution was rejected as being “too pretty” or “too designy. exploiting starving artists should not be part of the art director’s job description. my first question is always “What’s your budget?” The money you spend. etc. The best art directors can develop the reputation of formidable art patrons. And don’t get me going on that topic.
David Carson. Really being in authority means having the resources to wield that authority. saying it is Philistine. In this book. and mentors. productivity experts. They make art direction fun. But I have faced editors who think so literally that their wants destroy my design. Edgy too. Now. and reject what the editor wants. conciliators. I hate to say that it comes down to this. typography.or editor’s control. just as good. yet their work captures a cultural moment—it serves as a visual reference for all of us. others. So let me end on a not-so-politically-correct note. but maybe the feeling comes from biases that must sometimes be reassessed and altered. but that only goes so far. but an art director must be able to advocate the best possible rates for the most creative work. That said. it’s about how their ignorance will undo a great page or spread. translators. xvi . It is the art director’s job to interpret this view and convince them that their goals can be achieved in a smart visual manner either through design. Chip Kidd. These editors have a legitimate view of how their publication should look. and this is what I call ignorance. You are correct to say that a smart art director can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. I have sometimes met with frustrating resistance to my ideas. It’s not about pretty versus functional. I don’t know how they were able to pull it off—they are probably endowed by nature with a healthy sense of self-worth. I know when I’m not doing a good job (or at least living up to my expectations) because of interference on the editorial side. I have run into quite a few art directors who somehow have managed to force their personal aesthetics onto others: Fabien Baron. Is this the way we must act to reinforce our authority? Or is there another way? VV: Like you. just to name some of my favorite mavericks. Even though some of the best art directors are consummate communicators. collaborators. and how big the purse is. Admire them even. but it comes down to who actually holds the purse strings. about “too pretty” or “too designy”: I don’t think I’ve ever faced that. are visual tyrants with intractable egos. and/or images. Do you believe that art directors are always right? What is the measure of our correctness? Must we have the license to do whatever we think is best. Bless them. And unlikely to be hijacked by bean-counters. and metrics specialists. even if the editor does not? I know a few art directors who adamantly stick to their aesthetic and formal beliefs. we attempt to define what art direction is—yet my secret wish is that it will forever remain an ill-defined profession. facilitators. marketing consultants. And you know what? I envy them. I can feel it in my bones. They are not trying to second-guess anyone. But when I say “ignorance” I’m not being entirely fair. But who is to say I am right? Who is to say the editor is wrong? Of course.
advertising. or whatever else propels one to the crossroads. In a way. or end racial enmity. Yet self-deprecation aside. even if one existed. But few. but rather an understanding (or instinct) that enables one to identify and “direct” others with those skill sets. “so and so was born to greatness. photographer. and Martin Luther King.Introduction Made Not Born: Becoming an Art Director Steven Heller That old chestnut. Art direction is a convergence of various expertise and talent all with a similar focus—to create a visual and textual entity. demand a smattering of many competencies derived from varied educational and work experiences. doing layout was xvii . but overall. and for some it is an unintended consequence. It is. while art direction may not bring peace. I was a cartoonist—or at least I wanted to be—but the newspaper I worked for needed a layout artist. When done well. art direction is integral to the smooth and aesthetically pleasing flow of communication—which is no small accomplishment in a glutted information age. feed the poor. Mother Teresa. are bestowed with the genetic code or divine destiny to become a great art director. Instead. which is ultimately the result of collaboration. retail. while others are more adept with motion or three-dimensional space. painter. exhibition—and they will doubtless say they were something else before becoming an art director. Certain art directors are better at photography or illustration. illustrator. to be a good art director one must know how to delegate—who to call for the best work to achieve the final product. however. Ask most art directors in any discipline—magazines.” was probably true for Mahatma Gandhi. if any. Art direction is not a gift that will alter world events. In fact. one basically falls into art direction while trying to be a designer. Few art or design schools have dedicated courses. It does. Becoming an art director does not require years of art director school. art direction is a byproduct. moreover. they are barely educated to be art directors. it does serve a valuable function that should bring pride to the many who practice it. But art directors are definitely not born into their caste. a practice that does not demand expertise or talent in any one particular discipline. Call it fluke or luck.
I learned a valuable lesson: As a cartoonist I was not nearly as good as I wanted (and needed) to be. Conversely. It takes a unique temperament. surprisingly. so it was imperative that I get an education. and personality: Managing the page and all its components (which includes directing the art). I was offered the art director’s job after my predecessor left for greener pastures. argue with editors. Of course. select art and photographs. It means having faith in others’ talents enough to fight and defend when challenged. As it happened. typographer. I also learned that art direction was equal parts management. and even a manipulator of form and technology (in fact. but through osmosis I acquired an understanding that made it more comprehensible. setting the aesthetic standard of the publication. hire assistants. in this order: design formats and pages. Brad Holland. I learned a lot about typography. Herb Lubalin. Experience is its own reward. determine what will make the best covers. be proud of and learn from the end product. aesthetics. Yet in the short term. comprehending is not doing. or at least some quantifiable instruction that would get me to the next professional level. I got bit parts—I was able to publish a few drawings now and then—but my livelihood (such as it was) came from making newspaper pages for a small underground weekly. and the general dynamics of publication design from doing this work. As an art director. but as a layout man I was truly enjoying the process of piecing together (designing) an entire publication. I was fulfilled by hiring others to draw and photograph those things that I could not do as well. It means having an ego but taking pleasure in the ego of others. As a layout man. I learned how to strip negatives and make photostats to achieve certain graphic effects). So I made the decision to stop cartooning and start art directing in earnest when. color. Not everyone can be an art director. I had a chance meeting with a remarkable illustrator. who in turn introduced me to one of the most exceptional art directors of his day. fine tune the details. It means knowing how to make another’s work better. and imbuing it with a unique identity that relies on collaboration yet is inextricably part of your own visual personality. By studying his work for Eros and Avant Garde magazines. and it took years of doing just to become confident enough to feel like I was truly an art director. I had no clue what I had to do. I absorbed more in a short period of time than any extended semester of study would have provided. and briefly watching him work. argue with editors some more. I soon found that I could learn to be a designer. my drawing did not improve one iota. I carried out art directorial duties as I learned them. I was learning the trade and teaching my eye to see in a critical manner. composition. but I was forced to rely on chance to turn myself into an art director.like an actor waiting tables in anticipation of landing the big role. It means being comfortable as a catalyst for others’ talents. It means accepting the limits of one’s own xviii . argue a bit more with editors. Moreover. Running on the fumes of instinct could only get me so far. It wasn’t that art direction was easy.
It means having vision enough to see. technologies. and direct the total picture. but after trial and error. I am not a cartoonist (or any other type of commercial artist). nor do I consider myself a graphic designer per se. The media. and styles have changed.competence and seeking out the talents of others to bolster it. define. but I have stayed one and will continue to be one. xix . I was not born one. I became an art director. What is amazing to me about becoming an art director is that everything I learned during this formative stage has accompanied me throughout my thirtyfive-year art directorial career. but the fundamental notion of what an art director is remains and is now second nature to me.
anyway? She had hundreds of typefaces at the tip of her fingers in her computer.” she explained.01: Can Art Direction Be Taught? Editorializing: Directing Others to See What You See Véronique Vienne I used to think that typography was to art direction what classical architecture was to traditional painting and sculpture: the ultimate discipline. when my French niece declared that she wanted to become an art director. a job that required me to handle pristine sheets of printer’s proofs. That was then. their black letterforms freshly stamped on thickly coated paper as immaculate as powdery snow. She looked at me like something that had just crawled out of some pre-Cambrian sinkhole. “And I can’t draw. I encouraged her to study typography at one of the Paris design schools. Decades later. I’d swoon at the sight of metal type. “You can’t get into a good design school in France unless you know how to draw.” And why should she bother with typography. the key to mastering the finer points of an art. Next time I was in Paris I managed to wrestle an appointment with one of the drawing teachers at the prestigious École Nationale Supérieure des Arts 1 . My grandfather was a typographer. so I’ll never get in. With ink in my DNA. I was ecstatic when I got hired as a pasteup assistant in the art department of Vogue magazine. I was prejudiced. and my great-grandparents were printers.
Where should they start? What was the dominant feature? What details should they omit for the sake of clarity? Could they get away with only an outline? How important were shadows? A studious hush fell over the room with only the sound of lead scratching paper—and no one. he or she guides readers as they navigate the page and decipher the information. erasing sketch after sketch. The layout is a map that tells how to go from point A to point B to point C.” Here. Using “art” as an indicator. “decoration” is no longer on the school’s curriculum. Models would refuse to work for him. It is the job of the art director to make sure you don’t get run over as you figure out which way to go. we teach them to draw in order to see. “Show me what you see in this picture. they found that they had to make a series of urgent calls. We don’t teach students to draw what they see. Founded in 1766. The role of the art director is to literally “direct” the attention of the audience.” Back in New York. porcelain motifs. and wallpaper patterns. no longer on the surface. Looking at a layout is a physical event not unlike that of crossing an intersection. but hidden in the form itself. “There is always an element of seduction in French products. people capable of producing high-quality.Décoratifs (ENSAD). not even the most awkward draftsman among my students.” he did concede. complained that he “couldn’t draw. Words are road signs. I need to explain what I believe art direction is all about. yet a certain “style” is not excluded. where drawing is not only a prerequisite for admission into the graphic design program—my niece was right—it is also an intrinsic part of the school’s philosophy.” Needless to say. a senior faculty member at ENSAD. the “Arts Deco” school was originally created to turn mere artisans into accomplished graphic designers (then called “decorators”). I decided to test Simeon Collin’s approach on my School of Visual Arts graphic design students. “Drawing is a tool for creation. “The ornamentation is there.” Cézanne couldn’t draw.” explained Simeon Collin. “It is not about illustration. Pictures are pieces of a landscape. It was one of the first schools to acknowledge the role of fine arts in the formation of commercial artists. competitive luxury products such as engravings.” I told them. unwilling to hold a pose long enough for him to capture their 2 . or a pointer. a journalistic shot taken at a Baghdad newsstand the day after the general election. His famous still lifes are arrangements of ceramic fruits and paper flowers so that they would not wilt and rot as he painstakingly labored over a sheet of paper. Tell me what it is you want me to look at—describe the image by making a drawing of it. As soon as my students began to draw what they saw in the photograph. But since I could not bring into the classroom a live model—nude figure drawing would have raised quite a few eyebrows—I asked them to copy a black-and-white photograph that had been published in the New York Times that very morning. “Use pencil lines as you would words.
Where would we be today without Cézanne? He directed us to see things we had never seen before. the strangeness of the background. “Now. progression. or photograph can be just as engrossing. They mined the text for ideas that brought out original angles or provoked unexpected questions. requires a dynamic and vigorous involvement with forms. landscapes. My students’ drawings were not Cubist masterpieces. They drew from the text the same way they had drawn from the photograph. And copying a painting. or nude bodies. the sensual pleasure of the task.likeness as he painted and repainted over his canvases for days on end. none of the students asked their imaginary illustrator to “illustrate” the piece. “you are ready to art direct. Which aspects of the story would you want him to dwell on. you were instructed to draw typefaces by hand in order to understand their idiosyncrasies. Art direction. animals.” I said. But similar benefits can be accrued from drawing just about anything—fruits. the hand touching the paper. the diversity in facial expressions. action. In the past. The verb to direct suggests movement. Certainly.” I gave them a copy of a newspaper article published that same day (a lengthy essay on self-interest as a motivator for human behavior) and asked them to do with words what they had done with their pencil. but each one of them was revealing in a different way. above all. flowers. the sound of the pencil pushing against the grain. each one highlighting a unique aspect of the photograph—the density of the crowd. picture. “Tell me how you would direct an illustrator to deal with the content of this piece. Instead they did what good art directors do: they editorialized. What seems to matter in this exercise is the physical participation. 3 . Yet his unwieldy technique was a boon. and which ones would you advise him to disregard?” The interesting thing is. the eyes moving back and forth. Art directing is not simply an intellectual enterprise. studying typography is a worthy discipline. the dynamism of the scene.
and skills in visual refinement. Two Students across the visual communications curriculum participate in a messaging project at the beginning of their second semester. typography. In the first year of this program (the junior year). Louis. B. and visual assembly—making things “fit” inside the visual space and within the concept. Missouri. The first priority for the beginning student is to develop a set of methodologies that consistently yield interesting and clear results. 4 . clear communication. students simultaneously are introduced to the fundamental visual vocabularies of the field and challenged to become visual problem solvers. but there is also a larger communication problem to be solved. The program has long taken a synthetic approach to graphic education. they develop a way of thinking that forms the foundation for all of their work. and typography. bringing illustrators. “illustrator” or “art director”—and focus discussions instead on the roles assigned to text and image in the development of creative work. Because this student is new to the material—type and image—his skills may take some time to catch up. The Visual Communications program at Washington University in St. copywriting. In our experience.Art Direction with Materials at Hand: Studies in Word and Image Heather Corcoran and D. we have begun to de-emphasize the use of the traditional nouns—e. and typographic investigation. image construction. If art directors integrate image.. Dowd One The challenges of professional art direction include concept formation. This way of thinking includes a set of visual activities and an order in which to complete them. Students are asked to find visual ways to record visual phenomena that they observe. then the rising student must engage these elements individually and severally to learn the creative dynamics of visual communication. if students are exposed to a sandbox of problems (even fictitious ones) early on. This project is meant to help them assemble images and text to communicate ideas quickly and efficiently. book hypothetical trips to assigned destinations and track their journeys. language. to identify a particular set of strengths. an approach to analysis. there are compositional and design questions to be addressed. Given the current state of hybridization in the marketplace and the potential of interdisciplinary study for broader learning in the field.g. and ultimately. All students are asked to engage the challenges of image-making. We aspire to develop visual decathletes. In each case. and package objects and animals in nonsensical ways. is dedicated to helping students explore the interplay of word and image. graphic designers. and advertising designers into close contact.
“Your seat cushion may be used as a flotation device.To begin. students are provided with a list of verbal messages typically encountered in an industrial or commercial context or inside a social organization. unaided by textual support. But the three posters are not equivalents. the opportunity for type to solve another. Students at Washington University are taught to incorporate multiple methodologies into their making processes. The weight of the communication must be carried by the words. word and image merge to create meaning. the letterforms of “Stop. 5 . dry place. Without text. • Watch your tongue. Thus. In the first. but associative leaps are also possible. the student communicates the message using the given text and an image that she makes or appropriates. she has gained an understanding that will be valuable in future projects. the assembly of elements—however generated. gathered. creating an unnatural-looking divot. always with communication and problem solving top of mind. The pictures in the image-only posters must work harder. The categorical limitations of each poster help to establish its communicative possibilities. The experience of the audience as a reader can be heightened or even counteracted by the behavior of type.” An image of a hand opening a Tupperware container with a desert inside becomes the solution for “Store in a warm. A Pop Art image of a car crashing into a wall needs the phrase “left lane ends” to communicate its idea. Finally. For an art director. students must find appropriate. If she can recognize the potential of an image to solve a particular kind of communication problem. In the end. the student solves the same communication problem typographically—limited to the text of the given phrase. drop. in this context. The counter forms in the as in “Employees must wash hands before returning to work” become water droplets. the student finds a different approach for each poster within given limitations. An art director builds a pithy whole. • Employees must wash hands before returning to work. a seat on an airplane rendered in the manner of a life jacket suggests. and roll” are made from bits of torn paper that suggest fire. and the potential for a canny combination to address yet a third. and shaped—is the name of the game. Examples include: • Objects in mirror are closer than they appear. interrelated roles for each element of the poster. she makes an image that does the communicating. • Shallow water: don’t dive. In the text and image solution. The act of reading is fundamental. Each student is asked to produce three (visually unrelated) posters to pay off the given message. In the second. they may require the use of metaphor or integrate several visual sources in order to create communicative associations. we infer “Hazardous material inside.” A metal one-gallon can drips onto the profile of a hand.” The typographic posters are another category altogether.
Calligraphers and early printers grasped this more than five hundred years ago. white is the absence of all color. The Third Color Is Red. On the front page of a newspaper. it’s the same thing: try to get to the content.poynterextra. In print. In the log section of a blog. Most sites try to crowd too much onto a page—much better to break information down into smaller bits. the latest design sensation—the blog—works very well in this regard. and so it is the first choice for type set on a white background.org/eyetrack2004/index. see Poynter’s Eyetrack III study (www. Everybody else is too busy. while in video. This makes it easy for the user and the producer. and so it has lost all its meaning.htm) In magazines and on Web sites. it should be used much more in design. To see how people read a content site.com). On the Web. Bush shaking hands with Tony Blair. A reader should never have to click through button after button to get simple news.The Ten Rules of Design: Eyetracking Guidelines Roger Black Rule One: Put Content on Every Page. the latest posting is on top. It is the brightest color. just try to make it as accessible as possible. Make it easy to read. or the picture of the observer on the sidelines looking skeptical. This is not to suggest that you always throw out text. Three. people skim and surf. The Second Color Is Black. it must convey information. Corollary to Rule One Nobody reads anything. You use the picture of them smiling at each other knowingly. and Four: The First Color Is White. it’s every color firing at full strength. Rules Two. Or entertainment. (You can’t read it because there isn’t enough contrast between the figure and the ground. (Sorry. The only person who will read every word of what you’ve written is your mother.) 6 .) Why do designers do it? Because it’s easy to do and they labor under the misconception that they must be novel. And it’s even more important on the Web. illegible design has been around for years. Content should be at the surface on every single level. Black holds the highest contrast to white. we’ve already seen that picture. and experience has proven them to be exactly right. If you don’t give them something quickly. White is the best background (see the logo for Google. they absorb nothing. they move on as soon as they grasp a meaning. And most people don’t read all the way through a word. or worse. Yet we still see—on the Web and in print—designers running amok and putting yellow type on an orange background. With Web sites. Design shouldn’t be mere decoration. you don’t put a picture of George W. Oddly.
But red is perfect. But designs are pulled together with only one or two. The contrast is boosted if one item is big. Red headlines sell magazines on newsstands twice as fast as any other color. Frederic Goudy put it best: “A man who would letterspace lowercase would shag a sheep. When you do this. Page after page of HTML type may be okay if you are running a scientific research site. this is simply not done. Yellow won’t read against white. The worst that can happen is that people will think you support free speech of the Net). It’s all relative. Like instinctive reactions to colors. (Hint: This works with colors too. you have to change your pace. or several pages with a hundred items.(Hint: If you can’t stand a white background. we see designers employing scores of fonts on every screen and page. a Web site is not a poster. the natural. Thompson) Rule Seven: A Cover Should Be a Poster. Despite the current trend in book jackets. blue fades against black. built-in rhythm of the letters is ruined. A bad picture always looks better bigger. And then there is red. Rule Eight: Use Only One or Two Typefaces. (Warning: Some shades of red work better than others against a black background. It’s much harder to read. Rule Ten: Get Lumpy! The trouble with most design is that it contains no surprise. This works with the centerpiece or stage of home pages too.” Rule Six: Never Set A Lot of Text Type in Small Caps. 7 . Last choice: a light gray or neutral color background. Red is nature’s danger color and it is a great way to add accent to a black-and-white page. But if you emphasize one image. A single image of a human being—preferably a female model in a swimsuit— will sell more magazines than multiple images or all type. There are certain hardwired facts about human visual response that you’d be a fool to ignore. and people expect a lot of functionality (and content) on a page. but if you really want normal people to pay attention. use a black background with white type. it makes the design come alive. Type looks great in big point sizes.) Rule Nine: Make Something Big. The best combination of two: one light and one bold. Because of the total availability of fonts. to soften the page a bit. (Exception: The late Hunter S.) Rule Five: Never Letterspace Lowercase. What is lumpy? A magazine of consistent texture (say fifty-fifty text and graphics) that suddenly runs three two-page spreads. Of course.
Adapted from “Web Sites that Work. and so forth. No wonder no one under thirty reads them! Why can’t a newspaper occasionally run a full-page picture? Or a tenthousand-word essay? Wake the reader up! The world is still waiting for lumpy Web sites. headline. A stew without chunks of meat. picture.What we get too often is a monotonous rhythm of pictures. 8 . ad. ad. headline. text. Newspapers are the worst offenders.” Adobe 1997. A pudding without the raisins. picture. picture. headline. With Sean Elder. ad. text. text.
we spent most of the interview talking about various funnylooking but loveable sea creatures. hired me. The truth was I couldn’t use a mouse. I couldn’t wait to “learn on 9 . facing the possibility of landing my dream job—working at Ms. hadn’t heard of Quark. and lived in New York. knew Quark. At the time. punky course titles like “Girl Talk. the Victorian era. magazine.” But I also studied biology and spent six months living on a research vessel in the Gulf Stream.02: Can Anyone Become an Art Director? Coming of Age: From Ms. Wesleyan’s English Department had a soft spot for theory.” “Organizing for Popular Rule. so as an English major my transcript was full of straightforward. and Marxism. to Martha Lauren Monchik I lied about everything. It was this experience that helped me the most during my Ms.” and “Displacing Traditions. I said I used Macs. Ms. Even though I didn’t really know anything about manatees and had an English degree instead of a portfolio. It was 1995 and I had just graduated from the type of college that proudly does not teach job skills. interview. The art director loved manatees and although my research had nothing to do with manatees (I was studying the concentration of tar and plastic throughout the Gulf Stream). and lived in Massachusetts. But I was sitting in an art director’s office.
like feminism. Ms. was trying to be relevant to two generations of readers—women who came of age in the early 1970s and women who were born in the early 1970s. taking notes as she rattled off advice. She did. High heels were scarce and hallways were short at Ms. Or. focused on content and context. I loved working with women who had lived through the early days of the feminist movement. But the closest I got to writers and photographers was inputting text corrections and running portfolios back and forth to the mailroom. And my Quark skills were still a bit limited. Design at Ms. I was responsible for laying out a monthly section called “No Comment” in which we selected the most obnoxious ads submitted by our feminist readers (a leggy woman sprawled on the hood of a hot rod. more accurately. clean three-column grid. was redefining itself. I did not use the stamp tool to erase and lighten. My art director taught me how to use and critique the power of design. I felt that I needed an art director who could teach me craft. after a while. and although I subscribed to them. writers. and long lunches. We used two typefaces—Sabon and Cheltenham—and adhered to a nice. I was wrong. So I left Gloria Steinem for Martha Stewart. I was hooked. We were at a monthly two-color magazine. And when that failed. There was not a lot of room within the template to experiment. Editorially. teach me to have margarita lunches after stressful closings and how to color spec the perfect coffee (the shade of a brown paper bag). I learned about context. As the “baby designer. and protégé’s.) But my art director didn’t teach me how to design. The ability of chauvinistic design clichés to predictably titillate and offend was fascinating. Clarkson Potter. I pictured myself trying to keep up with my art director. I searched for not-too-thin models and commissioned illustrations that included more than just white skin tones. explanations. Ms. (Unlike my junior designer friends at Condé Nast. as they did in my imagination. for Martha Stewart’s book publisher. Originally I worried that I would never find the close-knit and inspiring community I left at Ms. but it did reprint sexist ones. and introductions. My first assignment required me to spend hours looking at offensive ads. Several saucy. In 1995. illustration and layout to enforce our political agenda and subvert others. mentor’s. the magazine. however. editors transformed a commercial tool into a political statement. pop culture–focused feminist magazines like Bust and Bitch were launched around the time I started working at Ms. Although Ms. for instance) and reprinted them without any commentary.the job”—it sounded so grown up. By simply reprinting them. did not print paid advertisements. And my heels did not click down the hallway in tandem with my art director’s. imagining a world of photographers. I used Photoshop. At the time.. however. and Potter were opposites in 10 . Ms. At Ms.” as my assistant art director lovingly called me. My art director taught me to use the inherent power of photography.
At Potter there were few conversations about abortion rights or welfare reform. But she scolded us for working late too often and left every day at 5:30 to be with her family.” and we all worked hard. She embodied her motto “a job is what we do for money. I stayed at Potter for several years. There is not a lot of opportunity to discuss politics when you are working on books titled Blue and White Living. especially my art director’s soft spot for illuminated manuscripts. Adirondack Style. and Lorenzo’s Antipasto. After learning from two art directors with entirely different interpretations of design. eventually I became an art director. two-color political magazine (it is now profitable and four-color).many obvious ways—Ms. one of the world’s largest media corporations—both art departments were run by very strong and nurturing female art directors. but similar methods of teaching it. we talked about typography. Instead of overtly fighting for a political cause. . she gave us time to play and fail. She taught me how to kern and cast-off and tried not to look too horrified when I said the leading on my first project was “auto. work is what we do for love. 11 . I interviewed portfolio-less designers and asked about Quark skills. I never realized how hard it was to determine what a new designer needs to know and how to teach her what she doesn’t know.” and cared for her art department like a mother hen.” She called me “Miss Lauren” (which sounded surprisingly empowering). was then a financially struggling. I started by having them critique a bunch of popular advertisements and calling them “Miss . As a little “baby” designer. More acting locally than thinking globally. When I did stay late or came in on weekends. and Clarkson Potter is an illustrated lifestyle book publisher within Bertelsmann. I think Bella Abzug would have been proud. referred to my dates as “beaux. I rarely confessed to it—I was embarrassed that I couldn’t do the work during regular working hours.”. Instead. she fought for us—her designers. I learned to value sketching and exploring. Mostly. .
Now. I’d forgo my veggie burgers for chicken wings. But wait. and red lipstick. It’s about the fan. there was a definite division of labor. in general. am the man for the job. it was a decidedly co-ed group. As he asks for his fourth individual baguette (this was pre-Atkins). terrified of getting hit with the stick. Metropolis. most interestingly. Ever since our conversations began about my coming on board to design a prototype and test issues for a new ESPN magazine. He is a smart man. I’d start checking the scores in the paper. “Sports!” I say to Gary. I had absolutely no muscle or body weight to speak of and was. Most of 12 . The idea of working with someone who wants to bring a little wit and self-deprecating humor to the world of sports really appeals to me.” Gary says. that his baby. describing his staff and the collaborative editorial process he hopes to create. Sports. He could change the face of sports journalism and I could be a part of it. I hear myself make a strong. over seared tuna. to his egalitarian. impassioned pitch to be the creative director of a sports magazine. This didn’t seem to bother Gary. Gary’s aura is overwhelming. Gary Hoenig. I did once play Varsity field hockey. never-before-seen visual presence and that I. and would rip off stats with the greatest of ease. his startup publication needs a unique. Why not! Sports! Soon after I arrived at our enclave within Hearst Magazine Development.A Girl for the Job: The Most Unlikely Sports Chick Nancy Cohen I hear myself at lunch. I have been drawn to his warmth. Sports? I’ve spent five years designing an esoteric architecture and design publication. I can see us now: I’d be wearing a well-broken-in pair of 501s. to have an actual budget. I want very badly for him to take me to a Knicks game and buy me a hot dog. magnanimous approach. And. Seated at a power table on 57th Street. I could muster up a little team loyalty for the sake of being on his. Sports. Nancy Cohen. Granted. Fuck the journalist. brown cowboy boots. he’s a New York bear of a man. Our most recent cover featured an avant-garde $95 toilet brush. looking consciously professional in my black fitted jacket. Sports are okay. I’d be the ultimate sports chick of the nineties. I was getting itchy to branch out. to make my mark on a more mass publication (and to have someone else do the scanning!). what does the sports fan want? We’re all part of a team. Sports? I could be passionate about Sports. Of course. who was busy pontificating as he eyed my leftover risotto cake. furry and neurotic. “It’s about spirit. He probably played football. and somehow it feels like I’ve known him my whole life. trying to look him in the eye and rally around his ideas. I tell the editor-in-chief. it was evident that Gary had not just made an exception for me—I was not the only one who knew little about the topic. Each fall I would break out my little red and blue kilt and attempt to present myself as a jock. He had clearly put together an eclectic staff from different editorial backgrounds. Sports.
grasp. There is certainly no shortage of straight male art directors in dire need of proving their testosterone levels (isn’t that why. Not necessarily sexual tension because. and. came from a broad spectrum of magazines and newspapers.” this was finally something my family could . Whitewater . the women were in other roles: photo editor..” “Achille Castiglione. Columbine. Story meetings at ESPN were . But those simple breakdowns that were required—plain. at least as far as I know. the relationship advice. just like Thanksgiving! These hairy guys were just like my dad and brothers. things could have gone more smoothly. I’m heading to Orlando to shoot Ken Griffey at spring training. we have awards ceremonies?). But the back and forth banter. managing editor. meetings sometimes ran longer because things had to be explained over and over again. . Allan Iverson” (they’d never heard of him). and they—along with the women—were equally vocal with strong opinions on just about everything else. I wound up hiring two women for the art department. All of a sudden. Yes. After designing issue after issue at Metropolis on topics like “The Greening of Architecture. the good news was that my family finally understood what it was that I did for a living. They weren’t jocks either. 13 . . there were no extracurricular activities going on in the sidelines. I was somehow able to muster up unyielding point of views about a subject I knew next-to-nothing about. The males in my own family were also loud and demanding sports fanatics. I felt right at home very quickly. The mix added a nice tension.the editors and researchers were men. the lunchtime debates on OJ.W. I was in D. I was the envy of all of them. it also affected the content and process of getting the magazine out.” “Just got back from a Cal Ripken shoot. Yes. Clearly. three if you count our production director).C.” or “Furniture Fair Roundup. the female influence was invaluable. “Oh. after all. along with the guy editors. . and our holiday dinners. It was a smart strategy on Gary’s part. and in a few weeks on the job. everyday language— became the basis for our user-friendly approach to sports journalism. Plus. our group dynamic was certainly made more lively by the fact that there were members of both teams around (well. as well as our lone gay man. can’t make it to that BBQ. This “training” was useful to me. in particular. .” “Oh. A great His Girl Friday energy hung in the air. you should see the gym he’s got behind his house. The tension didn’t just make our group socially interesting. the production director. . . copy editor. A healthy debate was constantly brewing somewhere in my house—over anything. conscious or not. For it would have been all too easy to stock the place with an all-male sports-fan staff. how can you squeeze a big idea into a small caption or a 150-word sidebar? Soon I was beginning to understand the difference between yards-per-rush and yards-per-pass. were basically a competition for “the ball” (only the loudest voice got game). if you can’t explain something clearly to a novice. After all. doing a feature on some new kid from G. sorry.
Photographer: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; art director: Nancy Kruger Cohen; ESPN Pro Basketball; Fall 1995.
Art directors: Carl Lehmann-Haupt and Nancy Kruger Cohen; illustration: from Handbook of Pictorial Symbols, by Rudolf Modley; Metropolis magazine; June 1991.
Photographer: Mark Seliger; art director: Nancy Kruger Cohen; ESPN Pro Basketball; Fall 1995.
Art director: Nancy Kruger Cohen; photographer: Evan Kafka; ESPN College Basketball; Fall 1995.
Needless to say, there hadn’t been much discussion at Metropolis about who would be the first-round draft pick. There, we were into deconstruction and irony, rewarded for subtlety and intellect. Each month at Metropolis had been a typographic experiment; we were self-consciously into using one font—a different one each issue—soup to nuts, in everything from headlines to captions to body text. I also had developed a preference for all lowercase type (which in the early nineties was not mainstream). My style at the time was certainly not demure, but it also was not within the norm of “guy sports magazine.’’ Gary was tired from a lifetime of looking at expected, traditional sports iconography. For ESPN’s new magazine, he wanted it to be as groundbreaking as the cable network, and was open to just about anything. To me, he seemed to speak in Trade Gothic Bold Two, all lowercase. We used it for headlines, decks, pullquotes, captions, everywhere but the body text; this was quite different from the cold and aggressive “all caps” type used at other sports publications. It seemed open and approachable, not unlike Gary. And not unlike the voice we wanted to be—conversational, friendly, the guy sitting next to you at the game. It couldn’t have been speaking to a more different audience than the urban planner or architect I was used to facing. I was not only learning a whole other language, but, as a group, we were creating one too. All the editors seemed comfortable speaking in Bold Two, too. And soon, we girls in the art department were able to tell you the team colors of just about every team in the NFL, NBA, and Big Ten (“Oh, Robin, that sweater you are wearing is soooooooo Michigan yellow”). And in between the nuts-and-bolts profiles on coaches and all-stars, we were able to take some of the staples of women’s magazines and translate them into something relevant for our reader. For example, we did a fashion timeline on the history of basketball shorts (hemlines go up, hemlines go down). Or a roundup of helmet styles throughout the century. We used a lot of silhouetted headshots of players, also a style that back then didn’t usually make it into men’s magazines. But it was always done in a straightforward and unfussy way, so as not to alienate our macho reader. Of course, no art director can resist layouts or typography that work on multiple levels. And, after all, Gary said we never wanted to talk down to our audience. One of my favorite concepts was the table of contents for our “Year in Sports” issue: a still-life photo of a remote control, which took up the whole page. Each sport we covered corresponded to a different page-numbered button. This clicker seemed to embody everything we were about, and we were, after all, the print version of the world’s most successful sports channel (it was also the one layout we did that won an SPD silver medal). And in a feature about a Russian hockey player, we used bold red pull-quotes in perfect squareshaped boxes (much to the chagrin of the editor, who had to edit them down to fit perfectly). It is doubtful that our average hockey preview reader ever caught the reference to this player’s Soviet communist past, but at least it looked good in the portfolio.
The outsider influence on the magazine was perhaps most visible in our approach to photography. Although today it may seem like no big deal not to use traditional “sports photographers,” back in 1995 this was a novel concept. My experience at Metropolis clearly was an influence; there, we could not afford to pay competitive rates, but people would work for us anyway: the bigger names, because they got to do something unusual or personal (basically, whatever they wanted); the young unknowns, because it was their chance to be published. At ESPN we departed from the longstanding “your father’s magazine” tradition of action shots and sports portraits, and instead invited photographers from other genres—fashion, architecture, documentary—as well as young upstarts to create the photographic narrative of the pages. It paid off; these photographers challenged convention, and showed us a different view of sports heroes. Instead of a blurry action shot of Keshawn Johnson, we captured an image of him in the middle of Times Square, looking like the phenomenon he was about to become. Granted, there were trouble spots. For our “Who to Watch” issue, there was a piece about a rookie baseball player named Alex Rodriguez (few had ever heard of him back then). The portrait, done by a fashion photographer, was gripping. We made it even more intense by blowing up his face across the whole spread. The reaction was startling. Editors (read: guys) would come into our office, take one look at the layout comp on our wall, and just stare at it, uncomfortably shifting from leg to leg. Others said, “I’m not sure . . . I don’t like that so much” but couldn’t (or wouldn’t) verbalize why not. Gary simply said, “Too close!” But I argued for it, and won. When it was printed, I took the signatures home to my boyfriend and told him about the comments back at the office. He looked at me and said, “Well . . . he looks . . . um . . . kissable.” I looked again. Ah. Those pouty lips. Implants? Pinky red. Ah. Beckoning. Ahhhhhhhh. Too close! I did what I could to hide my complete cluelessness about the world of sports. As I headed for the airport to Utah to shoot the cover of our Football Preview, I dialed my boyfriend and asked, “I’m late, but tell me something— quickly, who’s Steven Young?” He replied, “This job is wasted on you.” (He married me anyway.) For those of you RISD folks who don’t know either, back in 1995 he was, like, the David Carson of the NFL. My problems with Steve didn’t stop there. Back in the office after editing the film (and bragging to the staff and my brothers that I even got to rub mud on his too-clean uniform at the photo shoot), we were trying to decide on the image for our first cover. A shot of Steve hopping onto the goalpost seemed the obvious choice. After working on the cover design for about a week, I was feeling characteristically insecure, and invited a friend and mentor to come give me some feedback. She will remain nameless, but let’s just say that she’s no longer a designer, but a writer and editor of books on art direction. And she’s
but also with a very intense and loving bond. It becomes exhausting. But Gary was an incredibly patient editor-in-chief. And what other job could you have where. He also had become somewhat of a guru for most of us. not down. after going through repeated closings from hell together. it also says “Wrong!” We didn’t count on the fact that the fans. People might be making more money now. And I realize that the most important thing to me—more important than subject matter or status—is finding a team that I can feel comfortable with. some are still working in a different position at ESPN. . (Our mood shifted when Tom Cruise said “You complete me. Today. nurture them. some have gone on to big jobs in advertising or totally unrelated fields. complete with sibling rivalries and dysfunctional cousins. . male and female alike. This wasn’t just sports. but always opinionated relatives becomes the reason for going to work each day. But it’s hard to maintain that kind of intensity forever. give them a safe haven to experiment. . I love it. it says ‘Read me! Open me!’” So we flopped it (luckily for us. No one was pleased. after figuring out a way to order lunch in for the entire group (adding tofu and steamed vegetables to the mix of hoagies and mozzarella sticks). Numbers mattered. but the goalpost should go up and to the right . and the vibe in the office was addictive. we slumped down in our seats. well. Times like those certainly made me doubt myself. Apparently. to put your heart and soul into something. something like the face of sports journalism starts to change. When you get a random group of talented people together. Down is depressing . and yes. siblings embarrassed to be watching a make-out session in front of each other. Too close!) The creative think tank our father figure had assembled. and push them creatively beyond where they’ve ever been before. which became one of the most successful biweekly launches in history. Some are higher up on different prestigious mastheads. or might have more time to spend with their families. was what was addicting. “Oh. I have lost any ability to talk current players or scores. this was journalism. but those editors and designers are still some of my best friends. rules get broken. amazing things start to happen. But most everyone on our original staff would probably say that the happiest time in each of our careers—our best. . into each other. . where the day-to-day process of collaborating with a group of self-chosen. Steve wore a very palindrome-atic number 8). . . . Mouths full of popcorn. we really had formed a family. After months of working through all of our personality and style differences. would notice that the drop shadow on the number was heading in a backwards direction. 18 . most inspired moments in any job—was the time we spent figuring it all out together. the entire staff sneaks off to a Jerry Maguire matinee. friendly . Years later. and my decision to stick it out. my creative cohorts and I glanced at each other knowingly. all of us thinking that we would never feel this way again. Ideas flow. up is hopeful . sometimes clueless. most of us have moved on. as well as Hearst management. in the middle of a closing.” Then.French. for so long.
” It was. well. Sports! 19 . more interesting than good. I always managed to put together a team that was . . I found this quote from one of Gary’s letters from the editor: “When I was a kid and got to pick first in a choose-up game. . I thought it was more fun to win with an underdog.When browsing through old issues.
so easily lost. there’s so much research going on in the field of cancer. I have spent almost forty years in advertising—I’m not sure if I’m a writer who loves to art direct or an art director who loves to write. what moves them. It doesn’t matter in which medium you’re working. I began to feel very depressed. You have to trust your instincts.” I think empathy. and intuition are an art director’s greatest gifts. when I was working at Ogilvy & Mather in Bombay. An art director’s tools are ideas. rather than how you said it. All we can do is hope that what we feel in our hearts resonates in the hearts of others. I decided to meet the client. no one wants to find out they’re about to die. “Doctor. when you had to work hard to hone your own skills and explore your own imagination. curiosity. so fragile. I am more interested in what makes people tick: what excites them. You have to get out and talk to people. There are subtle nuances that you might miss in a written brief. There is an intangible emotion. we are all just storytellers. I was assigned to create a campaign for the Indian Cancer Society. You can’t sit at your desk and wait for inspiration. or some new-fangled software. Dr. when perfection wasn’t easy. All I know is that I start each project with a sense of adventure and fun. The “brief” comprised a list of the dreadful symptoms and the number of people who died of the disease each year. what are their dreams and aspirations. You have to use the “intelligence of the heart. Technology will keep luring us with fancy new inventions and dulling our imaginations. I sometimes miss the old days. to get a better insight into the problem. Twenty-five years ago. Isn’t there more hopeful news for patients today?” 20 . The basic rules remain the same. You have to touch people. I am not too impressed when someone tells me they are good at Photoshop. Sometimes a chance remark can trigger an idea for a campaign. I believe an art director’s most important role is to protect the integrity of the idea and not let it get diluted by self-conscious execution. How was I going to persuade people to come in for a checkup. you have to be a good listener. Ideas are so transient. Those are technicians’ tools. and fluidity in something created by the human hand that even the most sophisticated software is still unable to replicate.Of Men and Monks: The Art of Storytelling Sunita Khosla At the end of the day. The objective was to persuade people to come in for a regular cancer check-up. The most valuable lesson I have learnt is that if you want to be a good communicator. texture. Jussawalla. I despair at its over-use or misuse. I always insist on a direct brief from the client. People should remember what you said. Though I value the computer as a powerful design tool.
I realized that my theme was not fear and the threat of death—but hope and the promise of life. It used to take me a whole day to draw just two or three. Dr. I was introduced to some of the most vibrant and joyous people I have ever met. Over the next few days. It also helps to meet customers and try to discover how the product fits into their lives. the only way to access it was by foot. Their stories became the inspiration for my campaign. I had to draw each one by hand. It’s Worth Living.” The campaign caused quite a stir. I had to be so careful. I discovered that the monastery was situated twelve thousand feet above sea level. it could change the girl’s entire destiny! Now I can make a hundred copies in ten minutes on my Xerox copier and earn so much more!” You have to be alert and look for opportunities to inject visual drama in an ad. In fact. My headline just wrote itself: “Life after Cancer . the client told us that the response had been quite remarkable. I traveled to the remotest corners of the country with the sales teams to dig up unusual stories. But people have a much better prognosis if we detect the cancer early. “Most people still believe in arranged marriages. I’d like to believe that we were able to save a few lives. Once. In the ten years that I handled Xerox in India. they couldn’t cope with the rush and the waiting period had already crossed a month. happy people. The stories were simple and direct. Don’t delay yours. It was the first time any cancer ad had shown active. It was an early cancer checkup. I was intrigued and probed further. Doing your job well is not about winning awards. For instance. Sometimes the best ideas come to you in the most ordinary situations. If I missed a single line. . in a little corner of a crowded street in Calcutta. . in the middle of a shoot at a Xerox warehouse. her parents start looking for prospective grooms and send out about a hundred copies of her horoscope. “We have made a lot of progress in the treatment of cancer. I must have met about two hundred customers. One of the joys of being an art director in India is its delightful unpredictability—you never know what you’ll discover. or on a 21 . we came upon an astrologer who told us that the Xerox copier had completely transformed his own future. Earlier. Only at the end was there a gentle nudge to the reader. I asked if I could meet some patients and hear their stories. Jussawalla said. “It wasn’t luck that saved Ruby. It is about making a difference in the lives of people. As soon as a girl turns eighteen. Now they had started getting thousands of calls. In fact. many of my patients are now leading normal lives.” I felt something stir inside me. barely two or three people a day used to register for a cancer checkup.” Less than a week after the campaign broke. I noticed a box addressed to a remote Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas.In the course of the conversation. Earlier.
sit in on the editing . . . Art direction is about getting every little detail right. costume. It’s like creating one ad that is right for every single country in Europe. the accent? Each Indian state has its own unique culture. plan the lighting and mood of a photograph. imbibing what they have to say. Today. Rank Xerox requested permission to reproduce it in their annual report. cast the right models. A week later we launched our campaign with a stunning photograph of the cold desert landscape of Ladakh in the Himalayas. . Art direction is not just about knowing how to do your own job well—it’s also about knowing how to get the best out of others. rely on your team. because it’s virtually twenty-one countries rolled into one. but you must know how to brief your team and ensure that everyone is on the same wavelength. mannerisms. How do you choose the location. 22 . observe life. You must know how to judge creative work and weave everything together like an intricate tapestry. The photograph was so interesting. It was an extraordinary story of customer care. to make everyone feel that they are part of a great magical process. hunt for the ideal location. never lose the human touch . my advice to budding art directors is: keep your heart and mind open. But I feel that you can also learn a lot by interacting with great designers. There are often times when I wish I had gone to a good design school. with a Xerox copier being carried to the monastery on the back of a donkey! A long row of monks ranging in age from six to sixty walked nonchalantly down the mountain blissfully ignoring the copier. It took me a second to make my decision and ten minutes to convince the client. . the model. trust your instincts. It is a real challenge in India. deconstructing their work. inject richness into a soundtrack.donkey. listen for the right emotion in a voice. Often your ad has to be translated into twenty-one languages! I don’t think it is necessary for an art director to be a skilled illustrator or photographer. You have to ensure the authenticity of props and costumes. and always tell a good story.
and was listed alphabetically as second on the masthead under co-editor and Chelsea Girls star Paul Morrissey. trend-spotter (friend of Jackie-O). most produced as newsprint. But his blithe spirit pervaded the entire enterprise. which was somewhere between underground and middle-ground. also had lots of input into the editorial mix. at the legendary Warhol Factory on Union Square in Manhattan (just a block away from Max’s Kansas City). Actually. he didn’t really do it himself— he had others. Interview may have also been influenced by George Maciunas’s Fluxus newspapers—although I never heard any Interview editor mention Fluxus by name. and most recently author of a book about Ronald and Nancy Reagan.” That year I redesigned the magazine. a sloppy underground tabloid edited by one of the founders of the Village Voice. Given its art world pedigree. but they adhered to the slap-dash tradition of the late-sixties underground press—the granddaddy of all DIY. though not unique in any exceptional way. it was cleaner and smarter than the dozen previous issues.). and. who also wrote a politico-culture column for the East Village Other. He ruled Interview from a safe distance. which were grungy and messy. Not only had I never met Warhol. Warhol rarely got his hands dirty with newsprint ink. do it for him (and from such a distance that I never even met him). long a witty and insightful cultural commentator who writes for various au courant magazines today. The three of us sat at my drawing board 23 . The initial issues of Interview (with a logo that read: INTER/view) premiered a few years before Punk made DIY into a generational style. Warhol was being channeled through “managing editor and art director” Robert Colaciello.I Would Have Fired Me: Bad Typography at Interview Magazine Steven Heller Back in 1971. quarter-folded tabloids (a larger tabloid page folded in half to create a magazine look). stylish guy who became an editor. The editors also periodically glanced at John Wilcox’s Other Scenes. Glenn O’Brien. were consistent with the alternative-media culture of that time. When founded in 1969. Interview was pop artist and fame-monger Andy Warhol’s very own DIY magazine before the term “Do It Yourself ” was officially coined. Yet all the same. many blocks from where I did my work. Whatever its roots. if I do say so myself. I did see the editors frequently poring over the cheapchic newsprint fashion magazine RAGS (published by Rolling Stone’s Straight Arrow Publishing Co. Instead. like me. it seems a reasonable assumption. Interview’s early issues. As associate editor. my name appeared on three issues of Interview’s masthead under the title “Layout. an affable. I was never even told that he (or Morrissey) saw or passed on my redesign before it went to press. so it may have had some overall influence.
10 the editors (or maybe Warhol himself) switched to a handwritten version that read Andy Warhol’s Interview. as well as two nude shower scenes of Marisa Berenson. It was actually a stunning issue yet was among the last to use handout photos. Add to that the heavy Oxford rules I placed at the top and bottom of each page and. 2. assumed the AD title for himself. Instead. At that time I was also art director of a rock music tabloid. Compared to Rolling Stone. the first decade of Interview was functional and staid. No. I would have fired the designer. even after I voluntarily left for another job. these photographs jumped off the pages. Silvana Mangano. if I had been in charge. Interview’s interior format was fairly neutral. was a big mistake. the two faces lacked any harmony whatsoever. with Vol.together as I sketched pages and pasted pictures of film stars and Warhol friends into place. Typographically. and I thought I was hired to be the art director of Interview because all of the type and graphic choices for the redesign were mine. and the magazine kept my logo for six issues. These and others were given the freedom. Finally. Francesco Scavullo. he was. 2. some are still iconic today. It was not an unpleasant relationship. No. however. and Bjorn Andersen. The most memorable issue that I worked on was devoted to Luciano Visconti’s film version of Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice (Vol. after all. an accomplished graphic designer and illustrator (with a distinctive handlettering style) and should have been the first to realize that my pairing of art deco Broadway type for the nameplate Interview and the curvaceous Busorama typeface for the subtitle “Andy Warhol’s Film Magazine” was one of the dumbest combinations ever. Colaciello. And it has more or less stuck on the cover ever since. Ara Gallant. Berry Berenson Perkins. And during these sessions I was vicariously excited by the little tidbits of gossip that Colaciello and O’Brien revealed about the chicest of the chic. In addition to being slavishly retro and therefore inappropriate for a progressive journal. It wasn’t until the nineties. Colaciello chose those images he knew would please Andy. that the magazine’s graphic attributes 24 . Herb Ritts. which reveled in typographic exuberance. but he never proscribed type or prohibited me from using my two favorite typefaces in the magazine. when Fabien Baron (and later Tibor Kalman) became creative director(s). allowing the photographs to take center stage. Barry McKinley. At least Andy should have vetted my typographic choices for reasons that will become obvious. from Mick Jagger to Marisa Berenson. 4) and was filled with luscious film stills of Dirk Bogard. Which. in retrospect. to “create their most unforgettable and original work. Interview gradually shifted from relying on publicity stock to creating its own photosessions with the eminences of celebrity and fashion photography—Robert Mapplethorpe. Bruce Weber. Peter Beard. who selected all the photographs. not the editors. in addition to writing many and editing all of the articles.” Despite the continued use of yellowing newsprint. But no one uttered a displeased peep. Before becoming America’s leading artist.
it was neither well designed nor fashionable. When I was its designer. Interview was still uncertain whether it should hold to its avant-garde. alternative-culture root or lead the march from underground to fashionable mainstream. During the seventies. 25 .were totally integrated into a dynamic whole. But I learned more about art direction than any school or class could hope to teach.
the person who holds the title of art director on a full-scale movie set is not responsible for the look of the overall picture.” as you define it. someone who reviews the plans and detail drawings (done by set designers) and who supervises the construction crew. graphic artists. the art director is responsible for the entire look of a publication or an advertising campaign. “greens” people (who take care of the plants and flowers). Unlike an art director in the print world. A film art director is more like a manager on a building site. It’s one of those confusing things. as well as painters. the Oscar for Best Art Direction goes to the production designer. a large team that includes a number of art directors and set designers.” That’s my job. “Art direction. Los Angeles Véronique Vienne: In the print world. I am the head of the entire art department. not the art director. is really “production design.03: Are All Art Directors Alike? On the Film Set: Making It Happen for the Camera A Conversation with Lilly Kilvert Film Production Designer. But in the movie business. and even accountants. plasterers. 27 . location scouts. The production designer is responsible for the overall look of the picture—the world in which the film lives. who “art directs” the film—the production designer or the person whose title is “art director”? Lilly Kilvert: At the Academy Awards. set decorators.
For me. moving furniture around. Beyond going to film school.VV: The great film art directors of the past. Williams Cameron Menzies (Gone with the Wind). the position of production designer was created to supervise the look of the film. Looking at the overall effect with the set decorator—checking the paint. you need a certain kind of brain. plasterers. I walk in and together we make changes or edits. wall surfaces. He or she takes snapshots of various pieces of furniture. the details are endless. 28 . Eventually. both logical and creative. It is the job of the art director to figure out what size stage we will need and it is with him or her that I determine whether we use paint or a translite (large transparency) for the background. flooring. Then the art director(s) and I layout the ground plans for what we will build. the painters. model makers. each film is an education. Perry Fergusson (Citizen Kane). metal fabricators. The next step is location scouting. I’ll narrow down my choices and show my options to the director. were production designers as well as set decorators. When he or she is ready. I give the set decorator time to dress the set without interfering. or I’ll go to Prague for a cheaper alternative to shooting in Paris. It can be as simple as adjusting the height of a lampshade or changing the color of a blanket. Then I repeat the process with the greens people. property men—all along refining our vision and budget issues. and more than one art director was needed to manage all the sets. We also talk about what I will build from scratch versus what we will shoot on location. rugs. Frankly. What changes have brought this splitting of the roles? LK: As productions got more expensive. lamps. Cedric Gibbons (The Great Ziegfield). A film production designer is the equivalent of a print creative director or editorial director. When we are ready to shoot. VV: How do you work? LK: First I sit down with the film director to discuss his vision of the film. it’s not something I would be able to teach anyone. Titles mean nothing. VV: How do you learn all that stuff? Do you need to acquire the same skills as an art director and a set designer in order to do your job? LK: Yes. Only then do I meet with the set decorator to discuss what feel we are looking for. re-hanging pictures—is one of my favorite moments of the entire process. I will travel to New Zealand to find a location for a film that’s supposed to take place in Japan. and fabric samples. We hand somewhat rough sketches to the set designer(s) who will develop them further.
adding glazes or veils. . graphic artists. brilliance. of course. I love my team. It is crucial that we get along and work closely through the design phase and the actual shooting. As for ego maintenance? Don’t ask. I love to mix it. painters. . thin it. plasterers. mixing pigments. I work with the production folks on the money and logistics issues. since what the art department spends represents about ten percent of the cost of actually making the film (not including salaries!). The research period is wonderful too. VV: What is the most challenging part of your job? Aesthetic decisions? The budget fights? Managing egos? LK: Well. carpenters. Lots of my time gets invested there. Every film has its own flavor. working out the texture of the plaster. location people. prop people. I love collecting all these fine minds and solving problems with them. to tell the truth. lets just say that creating the vision of the film in my head is the easiest part of my job. muck it up—and get it to do exactly what I want in terms of texture. what I love most is paint! I spend a great deal of time with my painters. I love that 29 . greens people. I love seeing what was in my head realized—on the set and on film. I run a pretty tight ship and want everything that goes before the camera to have gone before my eyes first. VV: What aspect of your job gives you a sense of control? LK: I think that my passion is visible to everyone and it has a way of inspiring people to do their best work. I am designing for the camera! VV: What is the most gratifying part of your job? LK: First. I spend most of my time getting my vision in front of the camera—and making sure the cameraman shoots it! Money issues are massive. My relation with the cameraman is that of a colleague. splash it. and then monitoring the decision-making process between the director and the cameraman. I am always involved in deciding who the costume designer should be and very often I speak to him or her at some length before the director does. etc. and keeping the budget in check is something of a thrill. Keeping control over the budget is no small responsibility. He or she hires me. Then. . I love getting them galvanized to do their very best and together see it all come to fruition. and finish—all to get the right look on film.VV: Do you get to hire everyone on your team. VV: Who do you report to? The film director? The production people? The cameraman? LK: The director is my boss. But. first making sure that my team is happy. or does the director decide who’s designing the set and who’s doing the costumes? LK: I hire all set designers and set decorators.
ultimately. I am a storyteller too. I’d rather use my energy to hold on to my position as one of the top female production designers in my world. VV: What are some of the most difficult things you have ever done? LK: Everything is complicated in different ways. one using different tools. up to eighteen hours a day before we start shooting. It is very difficult for a woman to become a film director. Perhaps the most frustrating is a situation where the director has no idea what my job is—and how much he can use me to improve his storytelling. Because.it is always different. forcing me to find the visual language that will tell a powerful story. I have to be fully invested. It is an uphill battle. To feel in control. VV: Would you like to become a film director? LK: I am too lazy—even though I work very hard as a production designer. 30 . artistically and emotionally.
you have to know when to let go—and when to take a hold of a concept. for gatherings. 31 . it is also an open environment where ideas move freely from each and every person. my office looks toward the inside. Crispin Porter + Bogusky Véronique Vienne: You describe the job of an art director/ copywriter at CP+B as “manufacturing ideas. for instance. clients are the critical crew. or even an office with a window! That’s why the place is like a building within a building. We take it around to different parts of the assembly line. This is really not our way. VV: Your office is laid out to encourage this process of crosspollination between people. we don’t really know where ideas come from. They help shape ideas in a big way. and then. Like everyone else. we embrace the notion that clients are intrinsic to the creative process. improve it. reclaim the process in a big way. I resent it. As an art director. most people think that once you got an idea. has a divider in the middle. Though it is linear. which looks larger than most offices. Sometimes. Our office is an assembly line. VV: What’s the specific role of art directors in the idea factory? AB: Art directors are not the most important crew at CP+B. It gets better and better as it moves through the factory. let go. the final concept is really different from that original idea. we do the same thing.The Idea Factory: An Assembly Line for Creativity A Conversation with Alex Bogusky Executive Creative Director. But the reality is that the job of the client is to let go. In the end. hold on. Here. When we work well with other professionals.” Can you explain? Alex Bogusky: Truth be told. and each person helps mold it. But anyway. In fact. of course. And I don’t have a window on the outside. like an assembly line. Clients have to do that too: trust us at some point. and the space in the back is officially not mine—it’s community property. when the time is right. Their impact on the work we do is on par with that of the film directors or the photographers we hire to shoot commercials or ad campaigns. except that what we do is custom work. There is no hierarchy—there are no corner offices. Ideas are just the clay. shape it. AB: We didn’t want anyone to have a corner office. hold on. what you do is perfect it and maintain it. with film directors in particular. Even my office. Our way is much more of an ongoing process.
Coming to work here is a little bit like going to a party. The rest takes care of itself. but it’s easy to think there because the noise is not specific. there is going to be a certain amount of mingling. Whereas when we are in an enclosed office that’s almost quiet. I can go on the ramp and say “Dave! Check this out!” and he will hear me. I can be upstairs and call to someone downstairs. they had five corner offices. I love paging! But I also encourage a lot of talking. You have your private space to work. of course. when you want to be alone. People are happy here. Going there is like going to a park. dah. Parks are noisy. Tons of ideas happen right there on the ramp. There is an access ramp between the ground floor and the mezzanine offices. And people talked about it. . which is the agora-like central theater with steps that create an open seating area. Is that too part of the process? AB: The noise is only a problem in the very first part of the process. but the office is mainly a public space where you bump into everybody all day long. with one person saying to the other. Whatever you do. But. And I can hold up a piece of paper and he will be able to see what I mean. we want to do the things that make us happy. 32 . VV: Like a factory.” Here. . But there was always someone who deserved a corner office who ended up in a less grand location. “Hey. like inside an airport. dah . a lot of people really “concept” in the noisiest part of the office. I wanted to ask you . in fact. . . The most senior people occupied the five best offices. VV: There is paging going on all the time. In our old place. I can yell and get to about anyone I want. even though it was such a dumb thing. And it usually happens on the spur of the moment. by the way. and have all the offices be the same size. this place is very noisy.” Did you know that walking actually stimulates the part of the brain having to do with creativity? VV: Is your job as executive creative director to keep the factory going? AB: Our philosophy is what some people have called “goal-oriented play. So we decided to all share the same glass-enclosed but windowless cubicles. From the top of the ramp. and they are really nice to each other. The drone of the agora is a kind of a silence.VV: How is the “no-hierarchy” approach actually helping the dayto-day functioning of the idea-manufacturing process? AB: It’s part of our culture and as such it is part of our way of working. dah. Isn’t it distracting? AB: I usually page people all the time. every little noise becomes a distraction.
I was striving to make the role of an editor closer to that of an active co-owner of the magazine’s content—as an orchestrator of ideas rather than simply a reporter of ideas. century-long symptoms of the editor frustrated with not being the art director.The Curator as Art Director: Designing a Conceptual Exhibition Laetitia Wolff Trained in literature and communication as well as museology. and illustrators together to think about what they do and what they could be doing. reactive form of expression. and even a civic statement. as an advocate for design. I think of an exhibition as a looser. In the process. more permissive structure than a magazine. What I wanted was to transform the magazine into a more organic. photographers. For a number of reasons. design is discussed and shown in a clinical. Trend analysis and historical interpretation. Since my goal was to tease the creativity of an often politically apathetic design community and challenge creative thinkers to react to relevant and 33 . non-interfering fashion. one that provides an experience that is generally more emotional than cerebral. In collaboration with design writer Aric Chen. I proposed a special show based on original design commissions. “taking design as an agent of communication and a mediator of human behavior. reporting and conceptual thinking are some of the things I like to do best. I came up with a special themed show. the editorial terrain allocated to an art director is quite limited. I decided to use this invitation to redefine the responsibility of the curator and bring it closer to that of an editor/art director. I hoped that this assignment would allow me to explore ideas and let design convey the subject matter. In other words.” to quote our own exhibit catalog introduction. For some reason. instead of limiting myself to collecting existing artifacts. when I was editor of Graphis magazine. My favorite activity was brainstorming with them in order to engage their analytical perspective and come up with fresh. That’s why. my interest in design has taken the multifarious routes of the written word and the constructed event/project. I had a chance to bridge the gap between my editorial and creative ambitions when I was invited by the city of Saint-Étienne in France to curate the American section of the 2004 International Design Biennale. I wanted to generate projects that bring design talent together and break the traditional formats and genres of design curating—I wanted the exhibition to become a think tank. in magazines that deal with design such as Graphis. an observatory for societal trends. objective. So. something I had done before and could have done again. I was displaying the famous. one of-a-kind proposals. I often wished I had more leeway in bringing designers. Usually.
Inspired by recent initiatives of design associations (e. there was a definite tongue-in-cheek aspect to my curating a show about American Design and Obesity in my home country. we got the incredible support of the participating guest designers. versus what is just a cliché about Americans and nutrition. American Institute of Graphic Arts’ special programs to redesign the voting ballots) as well as independent groups’ efforts to challenge and question the government’s public policies. The logistics were complex as well—to bring together twenty different personalities. disciplines.S. anti-campaign tone? How do you stay intellectually provocative while keeping the projects accessible to the general public? We wanted to leave the door open to a large scope of interpretations given the diversity of talents and disciplines we had approached to respond to our brief. styles. One of the things I particularly appreciated was the designers’ ability to take off from the expected. And although there was a conscious tongue-in-cheek character to representing America at an international design fair through the sensitive topic of obesity. to really be 34 . we wanted to push creatives to address political problems and social situations where design solutions are really needed. from corporate high-power players to “indie” low-budget Brooklyn studios. and schedules. Everyone undertook his or her project freely. or books such as Fast Food Nation. human interactions.daunting socio-political questions. from East to West Coast. spoof. America’s obsession with overeating.. as we did not want to fall into the cliché of the now-trendy anti-corporate and antiMcDonald’s attitude conveyed by films such as Super Size Me. Another great advantage of an exhibit. However. to raise above the anticipated. I saw it more as a way to counter-effect the trendy obsession with food as art. and happily. as celebrated by the current fascination for Baroque excesses and extreme luxury. population—very little design thinking had been put forth in the search for solutions and innovative discourse. I chose a controversial topic. diet. seriously. Faced with the national plague of obesity—now considered a disease reimbursable by Medicare that affects nearly 30 percent of the U. other than furniture manufacturers extending the width and depth of their seats and sofas. Admittedly. and weight loss. demands. as a French person never brainwashed by American political correctness. Most gratifying for me was the element of self-reflection the guest designers brought to their projects on what is truly American. Formulating the design brief was a difficult process for us curators. Yet mocking was not my intention at all.g. our aim was to encourage designers to think about “bigger” issues than themselves. as opposed to an article. caricature-like. is the fact that it creates opportunities for cultural/public programs that generate direct. across the board. How do you address a sensitive subject matter via humor without falling into the gross.
and a hightech jewelry pendant that discreetly vibrates to alert you when you are about binge. Minneapolis. Among the submissions were inventions that pushed the boundaries of familiar objects. Fabrication: Stafford Norris III. and those from 2002 are on the other. Lily Carlson. The interiors of the cups have been color-coded according to the obesity rates in corresponding states. as flabby as overweight people. or Steve Sandstrom’s eightgallon drum—the average American consumer’s yearly supply of corn syrup. from Ecco’s Eric Chan. addressed the social and ethical implications of eating. Other designers used irony. Still other designers. Dan Holley. like Yves Behar’s “Phat” furniture. so that the extraordinary increase in obesity levels becomes dramatically apparent as viewers walk from left to right. Paradoxically. from Garth Roberts. Diagrams: Anthony Buckland. some going so far as to develop implementable activist programs to promote more healthful habits. Steve Sikora. Figures from 1994 are indicated on one side of the cups. Modern Dog’s Last Supper painting showing the apostles eating junk food. It represents the country in a landscape of obesity statistics. 35 . made up of approximately 600 plastic drinking cups. Styrofoam panels.USA Obesity Propaganda Map Design Guys. 12 x 8 feet. some of which make out the subliminal pattern of McDonald’s Golden Arches. never taking the assignment literally but challenging themselves to respond to the topic in the most unique and unlikely manner. while some independent designers often proposed solutions closest to real-life applications. among them Mark Randall and Luba Lukova. like shoes that act as scales measuring weight and fat percentage. The USA Obesity Propaganda Map is a monumental. three-dimensional map of the United States. Minnesota. Joshua Norris.] imaginative. polystyrene drinking cups with paper inserts. mirror-like place settings that visually increased the amount of food on your plate. from Scott Henderson. all the design consultancy giants took the route of humor and quirkiness.
I really liked it—as long as it did not include babysitting. going back and forth. helping them with everything from typographical problems to production issues. exhibit design—and art direction. almost insulting us for broaching a very personal and intimate topic. It turned out he grew up in a family of obese people and thought that our exhibit was not respectful of a certain social reality.Overall. sometimes using the excuse of the time constraints and financial burden this project was putting on them while “real clients” demanded their attention. I now see how the brainstorming/ideation process can combine several of my interests: design discourse.e. All along. 36 . When he repeatedly failed to meet deadlines. and I must say. changing their minds every week. But we also had some strange reactions: a designer became increasingly upset. that obesity is synonymous with poverty. i. trends observation. I tried to be supportive of the designers’ thinking processes. This struggle gave me a sense of what an art director really does.. I understood there was something more personal than conceptually problematic. One designer dropped out of the project the day before we shipped all the pieces to Saint-Étienne. the designers showed great interest from the get-go—they were hooked pretty quickly. This curatorial experience opened up new possibilities for me. Some other designers kept calling me.
photography. what is the single most important aspect of your role? VM: Ensuring that we stay true to our intent and that our image does not become homogenous with any other cosmetics company. not to mention that I am encouraged to push the creative envelope. I make sure I approach each client differently by hiring a diverse group of designers who understand. have fun with. and I agree. While I am quite a classic designer by training. Kiehl’s Inc. SH: As creative director of Kiehl’s. illustration.” which would be effective for global expansion. print. New York Steven Heller: What does the term art director mean to you? Victoria Maddocks: Someone who is responsible for the look and feel of the project. thus creating a platform for good work. SH: In working with your “client. packaging.” how do you fulfill its needs while retaining your own creative integrity? VM: As I joined Kiehl’s right after the acquisition by L’Oréal. Believing in the products and the mission of the company also makes it a lot easier to create work that you believe in.” which in your case is your “company. I created the parameters and was instrumental in codifying the brand’s vocabulary. SH: Would you say that you have an art directorial style. I heard Paula Shear say years ago that design is about appropriateness. film. as well as evolving and pushing the image to be effective on a global level. or is your style the company style? VM: I believe it is somewhat dangerous for designers to impose their “style” on a company—that’s when brand images begin to blur. in accomplishing all of the above I hire and manage all creative personnel.Visual DNA: The Global and Local Image of Kiehl’s A Conversation with Victoria Maddocks Creative Director. which could be created in any medium: typography. 37 . and deliver on the Kiehl’s aesthetic. SH: Given all this.. what is your overall responsibility? VM: My responsibility includes ensuring that the company image (across all disciplines: retail. I was part of the team that defined the “Kiehl’s DNA. and Web) is consistent with our values and mission. etc. it actually means constantly tweaking our image so that it is somewhat different and personalized on a local level yet holds together as a global image. Naturally. Since our retail mission is to avoid being “cookie-cutter” and also to become part of the communities in which we serve our customers. In effect.
SH: What is your ultimate goal? VM: To constantly evolve both as a designer and as a creative director. SH: How much of your job is managing design? And how is this accomplished? VM: A great deal of my time is spent managing and motivating designers. 38 . To not limit myself.SH: What does style mean to you? VM: It’s the ultimate form of an individual’s expression—the substance of an individual’s creative genesis. yet at the same time continue to hone and refine my own craft. I have coached them to schedule time on my calendar so that our time together is uninterrupted and focused on moving projects forward. if you like. SH: How strictly do you manage other designers? Is there room for creative experimentation? VM: I believe in hiring the best talent first and foremost and giving each designer the opportunity to experiment and feel empowered about his or her projects.
He can’t distinguish a sphere from a cube. Also. Newspapers: Right Brain. the 39 . it’s my job to create the look and feel of both magazines and newspapers. his brain never learned to process the visual world. time available to produce pages. Which leads me to believe that people growing up weaned on video games and computers experience the visual world. recognize faces. is what defines the method of design. in general. the ability to put together pages extremely fast. or facial expressions. Magazines. newspapers! I believe every new generation interprets the visual world differently. SH: Is this why we feel the need to break magazines up into smaller and smaller pieces? Is this why newspapers seem so out of it? Because they cling to the forms defined by a previous generation? RC: As a practicing publication designer. in a fundamentally different way. Left Brain A Conversation with Ronn Campisi Magazine and Newspaper Design Consultant. MA Steven Heller: As a newspaper and magazine art director. Unfortunately. a newspaper’s need for speed. feature sections for example. especially the world of information. can go off the grid and be more magazine-like. So to get back to your question. who lost his vision at age three. can be more expressive and emotional. His eye. consisting of modular pieces that you can quickly mix and match and put together. and art budgets—I’m not sure why we tend to get stuck in the framework of newspapers being more formatted and structured. SH: Does design affect readability and circulation? RC: I think one reason younger people no longer read newspapers is because most newspapers look like . and now in his forties recently had his vision restored in one eye. It all depends on what media they grow up with. Michael May. is fine. paper. what do you think are the differences between the two media in terms of design method? Ronn Campisi: More than anything else. . SH: Does technology make a difference? RC: Aside from the obvious production differences—printing quality. Certainly the technology at our disposal today makes just about any design possible. in hours. . newspapers tend to be more rational and logical. Partly because of that speed need. Boston. there are many parts to a newspaper. Many of these parts. I recently read a story about a blind man. now able to have clear vision.Magazines vs. instead of days.
Everyone has to be on board. Because the magazine was only a small part of the newspaper. sixty percent right brain. SH: Okay. when I was the art director of the Boston Globe magazine. are defined more by tone and attitude. That’s when I Client: Microsoft.difference in design method is mainly a way of thinking about the forms. editors. There are so many people involved—writers. what are the similarities between the forms? RC: Both magazines and newspapers need devices to engage. entertain. publication: Executive Circle. Magazines. generally. photographers. in my mind. I ended up having total freedom and control over the look of the magazine. following a more linear thought process. No one really had to approve anything I did. Finding just the right mix is often elusive. are eighty percent left brain. The emphasis on everything within the organization was clearly on the news sections. I had an unusual opportunity to pretty much do whatever I wanted to do in terms of design and art. And I guess just like any other manufactured product. it wasn’t that important to the editors and the publisher. Newspapers. In the 1980s. Magazines are probably more like forty percent left brain. in an odd way. and inform the reader. art director: Ronn Campisi. 40 . with an obvious underlying structure but one that is more malleable. Meaning that newspapers are more structured and predictable. it means you have to have strong leadership within the organization to define the direction and rationale of the publication. illustrators. illustrator: Adam McCauley. twenty percent right brain. So I would pass on that freedom to the illustrators and photographers I worked with.
art director: Ronn Campisi. publication: Regional Review. 41 .Client: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. photographer: Kathleen Dooher.
SH: Even though newspapers and magazines are a combination of various editorial personalities. In terms of design. and add to it. An editor has to think like an art director. publication: Harvard Law Working within those Bulletin. how as art director do you maintain your design personality? RC: Maintaining a personality is the biggest challenge for any publication. trying to Ronn Campisi. that’s what I love. succinct vision of the publication and are able to communicate that vision to others with a sense of positive energy and enthusiasm. they have to be smart enough and confident enough to let me. in my own way. SH: How would you define the optimum working relationship with an editor in either media? RC: The best editors to work with are those who have a clear. associate art director: Alicia Jylkka.learned not to art direct. And because we did fifty-two issues a year I would take all sorts of crazy chances. is that you get to do the same thing over and over again. for me. how far you can push the format before it becomes something different . as designer. How narrow should the definition be? How wide can it be? Can you go too far and lose the personality? Sometimes I feel like no matter how hard I try. or so you hope! Client: Harvard Law School. magazines and newspapers. . Each issue presents an opportunity to do something greater and better than the last issue . photographer: Christopher Harting. interpret that vision. to just pick the best person for the job at hand and let ‘em go. what to change. . . and an art director has to think like an editor. One of the great things about publication design. the stuff I do 42 . . figure out what to repeat. Knowing the shelf life was only a week was very liberating. It is really a collaborative effort. art director: constraints.
. many illustrations in the magazines I currently art direct. is about taking ideas. the question is. whatever. spatial relationships. and the editorial subject matter. words. Even within a form. SH: What is your definition of a well-art-directed periodical? RC: One that has character. while knowing how to keep your core personality intact. the differences can be dramatic depending on art direction. still pictures. and putting it into some kind of tangible. SH: In the hierarchy. and reality in the publications they read. wit.ends up having a certain look. visible form. how do I keep my own work fresh? How do I allow myself to respond to what’s going on in popular culture without turning into a mindless hack? Illustrators and photographers. lately I’ve been leaning toward using more photography. and appears effortless. I will admit I get them mixed up sometimes! SH: Do you have a visual preference between illustration and photography. also have this problem. Which means great typography. but each is dramatically different from the other because of the form the information takes. Therefore. where do you see yourself and why? RC: There is no hierarchy. and good pacing. Long-term success means being able to adapt and change with the times. you are designing and art directing. any publishing endeavor.” The way you tell the story is different if you are telling it in video. As I get older and am able to experience different trends in design coming and going. or music. You’re still telling the same basic story. But seriously. truthfulness. what is that? If not. The minute you do that. “The chicken crossed the road. Ha ha. amazing images. Images that use natural light and don’t appear contrived to fit into this scheme. not computer-generated. While I still assign many. the design. Because I work on many different magazines. It always seemed so much more expressive to me. My sense is that no one trusts the media anymore. Photography is one of the ways to address that. the underlying grid. style. I definitely favored illustration over photography. The differences are in the typefaces. becomes the thing that defines everything you do. the form the information takes in the real world. Readers have a yearning for more honesty. I see myself as the center of the universe. if you think about it. how does each form work in your art directorial context? RC: In the past. real. 43 . the illustrations I like to use look like they were done by human beings. . . no matter what the media. Let’s say you have a story to tell—for instance. in a diagram. At the same time. The ability of an illustrator to transform an empty page into an image filled with emotion is truly magic. information. on a stage. I try to give each magazine its own visual personality. it seems to me. and if so.
I’m not really kidding when I say art direction and design are the center of the universe. everyone now believes they understand and can do the other’s job because they use the same tools. In fact. when enough people finally realize this. Whether it’s between illustrator and art director. erasing the physical boundaries that once existed. More and more of our transactions with the world now tend to take place through a computer screen. In the future. 44 . Or maybe that has already happened. SH: But there are distinctions between art director and editor and client. right? RC: The distinction between art creator and client has been blurred. there won’t be a need for art directors anymore.So actually. everyone will be an art director. art director and editor.
A neat job. Yes. identity design. really. New York Steven Heller: What does the term art director mean to you? Brian Collins: A media-agnostic. more significant than the change brought about by the arrival of television. store design. we love telling stories. appear on the important doors until the 1960s. We often partner with the general agency on the design part of a brand—while they might focus on TV advertising. so to speak: in a package. But we do not suffer from a thirty-second commercial fetish 45 . writers ruled the roost. SH: As creative director of Ogilvy’s Brand Integration Group. Brand Integration Group (BIG). (Interestingly. We will build ideas for products. on the street. the Web. usually twirling cigarettes to punctuate their thoughts. No art directors’ names. or even films. products. But sometimes we’ll handle a whole campaign when it makes sense. are always sending their ideas off to the “layout men” down in the “bullpen. SH: And what does it mean to the world? BC: Art directors really came into power once television commercials. You can still see their names on the agencies born before the TV revolution.A Neat Job: A Media Agnostic in a Branded World A Conversation with Brian Collins Creative Director. Young people are entering the advertising business in a time of profound change. in a store. began to dominate the advertising industry. the guy who turned Bernbach onto this way of working was his first partner. Young & Rubicam. and environments. what is your overall responsibility? BC: To find startling ways to bring our client’s products and brands to life—in three hundred and sixty degrees. the new marketing environment driven by new technology has similar potential to spark another golden age. Foote Cone & Belding. or even in a film. Leo Burnett. at a skate park. collaborative leader with a passion for visual storytelling who can work transmedia—across communications. frankly. We look at the most broad experience of a client’s problem first—and then we design ideas against the stream of those experiences. Ogilvy & Mather—those were the writers and account people on the door. When radio and print were the powerful media of their day. ) As interactive media will eventually dominate everything. a visually driven medium. that Paul Rand.” It was only after the brilliant writer Bill Bernbach pulled the art directors out of their “bullpen” and made them full partners with the writers that the golden age of American advertising started. Paul Rand. I love old fifties Hollywood movies about advertising where you see the copywriters. Ogilvy & Mather. Either way.
to build trust between our people and our clients. SH: In working with your “clients. computers. I think. on the other hand. and build the best creative and strategic team in the world. Third. and understanding the business puzzle you are trying to solve. The other part of my job is to develop new ways for our clients to adapt to the problems of media splinterization—which has completely fragmented our audiences. SH: Aside from the military metaphor. So we have to keep innovating. But they were blissfully unaware that a few Germans were building the first armored tank just a few hundred miles away. Second. really. among other places. although we love to work on television when it makes sense. it’s harder to pin down an audience. Coca-Cola. And our goals theirs.” either. The Olympic Games. Motorola. But we don’t spend much time talking with our clients about our own “personal visions. What we do talk 46 . Occasionally. American Express. What we try to do is connect the creative. But no one on my team would come to me with a TV idea as their first and only solution.” how do you fulfill their needs while retaining your own creative integrity and that of your designers? BC: This is the best question. That’s lunacy. People see what we do. Congruency faces the outside world. mobile phones. They are moving from traditional television to video on demand. personal ambitions of our people with the problems that our clients bring us to help them build cultural relevancy. to recruit. here?” Authenticity. Kodak. faces internally: it’s understanding who you are and what makes you passionate—and remaining connected to that so you can bring it into your work. The “tanks” are everywhere now. I always ask my partners. events. The French had great horses. certainly. about reconciling two opposing forces: cultural congruency and personal authenticity. It’s about being responsive to the demands of the society. First. And they overlap. We try to make their goals ours. and the central one for creative people. the marketplace. the Web. Developing good creative work is. IBM. We’d get laughed out of the room. With so many new information options available today. Without trust you have nothing. and gaming. movies. We get to work with some of the greatest companies and brands in the world. what is the single most important aspect of your role? BC: There are three. stores. to work with people and companies who value what our team’s imagination and intelligence can do for them. I fear that many people in the advertising industry are as complacent as the French Cavalry in 1914. “What are we really inviting people to do.in our group.
Some projects come flying in like an out-of- control 757 with two engines on fire. a mother giving birth to triplets in business class. It burns people out. If an unfolding style doesn’t help to move the story along. Instant intuitive judgments are sometimes the best ones. Jolly Ranchers. We’ve got to land the plane fast. steaming cocoa cups. flashing neon signs. I’d call it ruthlessness.about is whether an idea is big enough—or interesting enough. to make someone feel something meaningful. In the end. Twizzlers. Personal voice is really the only thing that cuts through in the end. I then put them in the line of fire to create their own work. they got it. Rather than churning out a bunch of normal billboard layouts. to make the communication clear and understandable. If I hired dull wallflowers. Once they saw the idea visually expressed. and spinning letters. what is that style or styles? BC: In the end. Then we built it over fifteen stories tall with a gazillion twinkling lights. We showed them how they could open a wonderful store in New York by leveraging the powerful iconic legacy of their famous brands over the last hundred years—Reese’s. The only thing that is really worth listening to. Two face inwards. It is a tool to make a point memorable. articulate points of view. Two out. we came to Hershey’s with a much bigger visual story that was tied to their unique history. My experience has been that the most remarkable creative ideas come from someone’s unique point of view. I will employ whatever style I need to move a story forward. Sometimes good work has come out of those dire situations. SH: Is there room in your environ for true creative experimentation? BC: Often. But you can’t plan on this as a reliable way to do good work. art directors should be involved not only in communicating others’ business ideas. SH: Would you say that you have an art directorial style? BC: The way I see it. style is just a search for accuracy. etc. so there’s little time for experimentation. As a result I hire people with buckets of talents and strong. anyway. but in creating their own business ideas as well. I’ll cut and run and we look for something better. but sometimes no. That’s when you have to depend on your personal understanding of your craft. and an unconscious flight crew. we’d just see the notes of a committee meeting—which is how design and advertising is created these days. Take the Hershey’s chocolate factory we designed in Times Square. Kisses. SH: So what is your ultimate art directorial goal? BC: I have four. or sharp enough. My job is to protect the power of that individual voice within this collective endeavor. The art direction solution created the business solution. 47 . SH: Okay then. Also.
Third. This can be frustrating for clients who are used to getting pitched by account managers. We’ve had Malcom McLaren. A place where talented young people can learn from a range of gifted. Not a place where you’ll choke on the leash of a famous creative guru or be suffocated by a pervasive house style. and Los Angeles teach. and richness to these experiences so they can really inform how our world looks and feels. BIG should always feel like a kindergarten for grown-ups. And we invite great people to speak with our teams. We’re surrounded by the artifacts of design and advertising everywhere we look. That’s a big stage to play on. and twenty-six people in Basel will really like it. Fourth. Cooper Union. I want to maintain a team that will create dazzling. a place that might feel like the best part of college. it’s great to do a slick brochure for a small Slavic furniture company using photographs of skinny blond bisexuals drinking Evian while cavorting on neo-modernist couches. I want us to bring our imagination. Other members of our team have taught at Parsons. we should just give up. and you can show it to your other designer friends. articulate pros who love to teach. We make them co-conspirators. as I think work should be a place of discovery and invention. I teach in the graduate program at the School of Visual Arts here in New York City. to show how art directors and designers can have a tangible impact on the culture we live in. We sell a process of thinking as much as the output itself. and leave this kind of work in the hands of those firms that really just don’t give a damn.First. taste. But they come to understand that their engagement in our development can make the work stronger. and James Victore speak. BIG should be a place where you can do good work with extraordinary clients on big projects. Helene Silverman. It is fun. to be a place where clients can enjoy the working creative process as much as we do. New York. to create the kind of working environment that did not exist when I was starting out as a designer in the 1980s. Second. Yale. But it’s a different sort of problem—and an even more interesting creative opportunity—to develop a great global campaign for Motorola that has to respect so many different cultures around the world. And. We bring our clients right inside so they can see how the sausage is made. at its best. So all of our creative leaders at both BIG. Ed Fella. and Art Center. go home at five. different. They’re too happy to challenge anything as they count their paydays while slapping the same generic blandness on everything. unexpected work—or just more informative and helpful work—everywhere we turn. Otherwise. 48 . Sure.
the founder of Big magazine. The magazine finds itself in the art/photography/design sections of international newsstands— though not very easily—for those who are so inclined to go looking. and a willing client. which in this case runs very deep—a hundred and forty pages or so—and is entirely visual.04: Is an Art Director an Editor? Make It Big —and Fill 140 Uninterrupted Pages Rhonda Rubinstein Recently. refuses to be categorized. Inside. total editorial independence. I was given a chance to create a beautifully produced. a few pages of lovely luscious products surrounded by lovely luscious people announce that this is in fact a magazine that is believed in by those who work in advertising agencies representing luxury items. working with the best photographers. 49 . Two of the quarterly issues are produced by a different creative director in a different location on a different theme. Sound interesting? “Sign me up!” I tell Marcelo Junemann. usually accompanied by a photograph. “What are you looking for?” I ask in the less-jaded San Francisco voice that is mine after seven years of not living in New York City. elastic deadlines. The cover contains the word Big in varying degrees of size and legibility. Big. large-format publication of high reputation. Yet along with this promising situation came some unexpected discoveries. by its own admission. After these few pages comes what is commonly referred to as an editorial well.
50 . photographer: Olivier Laude.Big 54 cover. art director/typography: Rhonda Rubinstein. Fall 2004.
We’re looking for outstanding concepts. I get details.Big 54 table of contents spread. When you think about it. these may not be the freewheeling days of free love and hard drugs when everyone’s got a rock ‘n’ roll band. But it’s far more interesting now. After the future. Fall 2004. persisting in producing issues despite the particular publishing climate. new technology. How can we ask the likes of Bill Owens or Richard Barnes to pick up a camera for two hundred and fifty dollars? And no film expenses. typographer: Rhonda Rubinstein. art director: David Peters. they might have some free time. vintage jeans. clearly SF is really where it’s at now. “You pay photographers how much to shoot a six-page story?” Stop the presses. We test our theory. Okay. nouvelle cuisine. which puts so much emphasis on such wearisome ideas as profitability and popularity. Given the collapse of many SF publications and thus of paying work. photographer: Robert Schlatter. “Send me a proposal. . the origins of how we live and work today pretty much started here. It’s March 2003 and antiwar protests fill the streets. The photographers respond. A San Francisco issue of Big . . where people get fully inspired. Not much to go on as a Request for Proposals. New age. “Sign me up! What are you looking for?” 51 .” he replies from his tiny office on the third floor of a Tribeca walkup. And these may not be the free-dealing dot-com days when everyone’s got a business plan and a lead to venture capital and you have to sign an NDA to attend dinner parties. and brought it with him to New York. but this is the guy who started the magazine in Madrid about a dozen years ago. how could we ask photographers to shoot for no money? On the other hand.
art director/typographer: Rhonda Rubinstein.Spread. art director/typographer: Rhonda Rubinstein. photographer: Dwight Eschliman. photographer: Dwight Eschliman. Fall 2004. Fall 2004. 52 . Spread.
Spread with small photo (among three) of Earthquake Supply Center and photo of a field. 53 . art director/typographer: Rhonda Rubinstein. photographer: Dwight Eschliman. Fall 2004. Spread with house and garage (left) and skateboarders (right). photographer: Dwight Eschliman. Fall 2004. art director/typographer: Rhonda Rubinstein.
for sex. Go ahead. And Mary Spicer. who knows every photographer this town has to claim. for money. the writer’s grotto at the Dog and Cat Hospital. the houses propped on the San Andreas fault line. inured me to enough jolting that I ignored an earthquake tremor. is the perfect undisturbed room for meeting photographers at forty-five-minute intervals every Thursday evening over cocktails and wasabi peas. say. built for those now-scarce dot-com execs. technology. It’s mid-April 2003. who knows everyone else in this town. photo editor of a successful SF shelter magazine. Or. And Marcelo stuns us with a quick and definitive missive: “Looks great. Or. in a less touchy-feely. during its construction next to my former office. So we couldn’t be as singleminded as to do the issue on. but perhaps even scarier. David Peters. a photographer wrangler. search translates into a proposal that includes some of my favorite idiosyncrasies: a visit to the Este Noche. and can locate any person.1 degrees is the coolest April since 1975. LA upped the sleaze factor on its character actors. it is refreshing and daunting to have 140 uninterrupted pages. for change. place. New Jersey dignified its suburbs anthropologically. 54 . a sweat lodge in Sonoma. Next. for inspiration. and Susie Tompkins Buell’s midcentury modern apartment. but we’d had enough of that. more compellingly. First recruit: my partner at Exbrook. pre-Abu Ghraib days. believing it to be a boom dropping. way. Marcelo schedules SF for the May/June 2004 issue. In no time. The Seasons Bar. since Berkeley is shorthand for protest and our congressional rep was the sole vote against Bush’s war in the post-9/11. anything new today will be dated tomorrow. In these meetings we discover photographers’ personal projects and propose ideas from our ever-increasing list. We begin. San Francisco’s average temperature of 54. San Francisco takes pride in its diversity. Why do San Franciscans feel compelled to save the world? We hone in on the more open-ended theme of “search. The electronic template I receive from Big is absolutely blank.” In an age of predictable magazine formats. Maren Levinson. with thousands of Web sites and conferences devoted to it.500-word proposal to Marcelo. “search” is the fastest growing medium of all time. which.In past issues of Big. Well. and Detroit turned into a hip motor city. Up-and-comers could be doing hard time by the on-sale date. an issue on dissent. who offers a thoughtful stream of ideas. for meaning. What stories will be compelling in a year? By definition. we could. or thing required within twenty-four hours. Capturing San Francisco requires serious help. We want to be timely and timeless. At the new Four Seasons Hotel. We attach the names of some great photographers who live here and send off the 1. San Francisco is where people end up in their search for love.” After all. a Hispanic transvestite cowboy bar. Bush is preparing to announce Mission Accomplished in Iraq. both logical and absurd. from political socialite to outlaw artist.
and instigate.5 miles of coast: blue sky. but Noah Webb. We talk to Jim Goldberg. photographer: Bill Owens. Fall 2004. Thus inspired. the city’s more charming physical qualities include 29. particularly useful for earthquake probability calculations. We send Dwight Eschliman. from bedrock to landfill. sand beaches. delineated the city into two essential categories: sunny and foggy. Jenelle takes on the fog with spectacular perspectives of visible moisture. to search out life along the fault lines. The city is known for its tourist-pleasing cable cars and streetcars. We discover Jenelle Covino.Art director/typographer: Rhonda Rubinstein. I had a map of each to guide my apartment search. a recent Cal Arts graduate. a young photographer who has found a 1946 diary in which the writer’s most pressing concern is the weather. and Noah transforms the much-maligned public transit system into dramatic spaces worthy of New York’s Grand Central Station. The second map revealed what was beneath the surface. We green light his “Teleport” project. When I moved to SF. a photographer whose eye for symmetry and parallelism has been well-appreciated by the commercial magazines. Some photographers are working on concepts that dovetail with ours. drawn by a friend. elevates the idea of transportation into perfectly composed images of solitary figures caught in the web of recurrent motion. ocean waves. Which brings us to fog and earthquakes. where cracks run through football stadiums and houses slowly sink into the ground. work. create. of 55 . On a good day. The first. We search for what makes San Francisco such a singular place to live.
Art director/typographer: Rhonda Rubinstein. photographer: Bill Owens. photographer: Bill Owens. Fall 2004. Art director/typographer: Rhonda Rubinstein. 56 . Fall 2004.
Our September photography deadline quietly slides. of course. 57 . We track down writers to comment on less visible ideas: the search for self. whose day job we wouldn’t want to risk by divulging her full name. Dare we put something so disturbing. At the focal opposite is Olivier Laude. the searches of the Gold Rush past and the sci-fi future. for a Bay Area architectural style. two precarious piles of boxes and envelopes full of 11 × 14 prints perch on a filing cabinet. and other classic films set in San Francisco. we had offered a fair amount of creative freedom to the photographers (which was. thirty-seven 8 × 10 prints. allegorical way of portraying visual identity. Besides. Marcelo good-naturedly asks for a look at Big SF.” So. Though we began with a vision of a San Francisco search. Saddam Hussein is pulled out from the bottom of a deep dark hole. it’s simply a matter of helping people see it. one 6 × 6 print. so wrinkled on the cover? Marcelo insists we produce word-based stories.Raised By Wolves fame. Aya. to be taken by Marcelo to Chile for color separation by the aptly named Cristobal. where the headlines are the actions. one film negative and three CD-ROMs travels uninsurably via FedEx to New York. Then comes the challenge of putting it all together. an editor who just returned to the city and remains undeterred by our onslaught of research challenges. and shoots photo after photo of them. fifteen Polaroids. reshoots are not polite on a $250 budget. as do George Bush’s approval ratings. After nine months. on March 25. Our resolution was a narrative that takes the viewer from dawn to after-dark. At the Exbrook office. Olivier confronts us with a portrait of the quintessential SF stereotype: a gay software engineer hippie. Unifying the work of twenty different photographers within our theme became a design opportunity. The reply: “The issue looks great! I’m really happy. He grabs people off the street. And somewhere on the other side of the world. their reason for engaging in the project). a bar called Home is the setting for seasonal beverages enjoyed by the crew of seven. so unhip. who has the idea of capturing the great outdoors in the lush color stills of Vertigo. Keywords convey the intent. The Rock. The simplicity of the search engine inspires the design. Ten to fifteen pages. We bring in more help: veteran magazine editor David Weir who spills more local knowledge at lunch than most writers know. and Marc Weidenbaum. The violent undercurrents in his color-saturated tableaus reflect his particular dark and comic worldview. which now includes our dutiful photo assistant. covers them in thrift-store clothing. expecting questions. five 4 × 5 transparencies. On December 12. a twenty-one-pound box of plastic-wrapped and sealed art containing seventy-seven 11 × 14 prints. according to the agreement. Jim eventually agrees to venture from his Haight Street studio and returns with sensational fuzzy black-and-white Polaroids with the soft edges of aged film and an unexpected textural bonus of chemical fixative. takes them out to the edges of town. Perhaps his National Geographic work inspired his crisp. Disasters have their own inherent beauty. I send layouts via e-mail.
and the invention are happening. Contemporary SF photography has a big perspective: big sky. or mood of the stories and underscores connect the ideas. big space. It is then and there—after the five-year rush and before the next gold mine is discovered—in this economic vacuum that will not be in the history books. With equal. Maren and I observe how the issue represents a distinct kind of photography. Color is inspired by a San Francisco day: International Orange (the color of the continuously repainted Golden Gate Bridge). We searched on San Francisco and found ourselves. It is direct. that precious momentary pause. Gone is the crossprocessed. 2004. not as self-conscious as New York or as artificial as LA. There it is. Occasionally. the regrouping. the occasional spot of yellow sun. and decidedly not as ironic. while the big money is away. through juxtaposition. on June 17. the bright blue of sky and water. the 9/11 Commission publishes a much-anticipated report declaring no evidence of a collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. It was a lot of work. in New York. that the issue represents. The issue of Big is the result. and of course. 140 pages now.content. The coverline begins the search on San Francisco. that the reflection. 58 . Reviewing page proofs. as exemplified by the transit story. Marcelo receives the upload of final design files for Big San Francisco. Finally. Captions resemble search results in the form of statistics and prices that. and formal compositions. if not greater anticipation in Chile. Perhaps these photos convey the opening up of creative space that can now be found in San Francisco. we were somehow able to distill this lull into printed pages. The “you are here” circle highlights relevant information. typography happens. nine shades of gray fog. as when the circle goes bust in the Silicon Valley story. Confronted with that great nothingness in the form of a blank template and inspired by the state of mind that is San Francisco. wide-angle exuberance of the dot-com era. offer surprising conclusions. It is that space.
dummy text. Mr. was to communicate ideas—not illustrate words. Always polite and suave. As soon as Liberman declared that he was done. Now. rebuked her whenever she looked at her notes. messy layouts. “If that’s so. the now-famous graphic design iconoclast whom I hired at Self in 1990 as a mere paste-up assistant. he caught me reading a piece I was working on. I had to hold my breath. and pieces of colored paper would come together in less than three minutes. photographs.” While listening to the editor. I find. Once. remembers trying to copy fit Liberman’s montages with the final text—not an easy task. a hard copy of the edited manuscript pressed against her chest. literally. “At the time I didn’t know who this guy was. and others—had distinctively crowded. beauty. “I don’t search. his hands moving as if on automatic pilot over the drawing board. With the authority of a man thirty years my senior. who retired in 1994. She scurried in. he made it clear that my responsibility was to hold the elements in place with tiny bits of transparent tape—and God help me if I straightened anything in the process. never bothered reading a manuscript before laying out a story. like a shield. My role. rewrite the headline. I get the feeling that he has been undervalued 59 . food. “Are you saying that vitamins are bad for you?” he asked. He had to treat Liberman’s fragile piles of scrap paper as if they were works of art. Liberman. David Carson. Readable? The magazines he supervised during his fifty-plus-year career at CNP—Vogue. not to disturb this impromptu collage. he said. Liberman began to build a new layout from scratch. Magazine readers must get a feel for a story before reading it. quotes. health. Vanity Fair. She was asked to put it aside at once and pitch her story aloud to Liberman. With a series of questions. Liberman’s signature look was much too lively to invite contemplation. Forget about quietly curling up to read the articles. the legendary editorial director of Condé Nast Publications (CNP). He thought it was all pretty silly. Whether dealing with fashion.” he liked to say. as we called him. he tried to unveil the reader’s emotional relationship with the article. articles in CNP magazines were scripted to have a dramatic plot line. “It was surreal. paraphrasing Picasso. House & Garden. always insisted that magazines had to be readable.” he now says. when I was art director of Self magazine. Glamour. It’s best if art directors don’t get involved with the text. He was not about to be text-driven. he explained. page after page incorporated jumbled-up montages of text and images. looking back. Liberman. Headlines. or travel. he reprimanded me severely for wasting time on the job. sidebars. He summoned to my office the senior editor in charge.Editorial Director Par Excellence: Alexander Liberman Véronique Vienne Alexander Liberman.
As a result. “I hate white space because white space is an old album tradition. Fleet Street-inspired layout.and underappreciated as a graphic designer. A glance is all one needed to grasp the sum total of what the editors were thinking about. then thirty. He would strive to shock readers.” Although the two never spoke.” Unfortunately. Ruth Ansel. And he kept after me: “Un peu plus de brutalité. 60 . Great editors got the ax on Liberman’s watch: Diana Vreeland. From 1942. he insisted when my fashion layouts looked too “nice” to him. Dereck Ungless. Rip George.” Liberman had a knack for astounding and confusing people around him— and his attempts to explain his design philosophy were more alienating than reassuring. I need to be immersed in the subject matter. ma chère amie” (“a little more brutality. the mere mention of Liberman. Louis Oliver Gropp. “Consistency is the sign of a small mind. to 1994. when Liberman. s’il vous plaît. but never intimidate them. But eager to please—no one was ever immune to his old-world charm—I presented the next day a revised. Though Liberman’s layouts were at times deliberately messy. would be his successor as editorial director. can set off a heated discussion between designers and editors who have worked with him. “Don’t be stylish. there is an instant sense of community among ex-CNP employees.” he told me for openers. who died in 1998. design critic Owen Edwards today says: “When I worked with him. For him. thirty-five. just to name a few.” he said. they were never confusing.” he would then admonish. These were magazines one didn’t need to decipher in order to read. few of Liberman’s collaborators were ever able to “read” him as effortlessly as readers were able to decipher his layouts. People who have been fired by him sometimes break into hives.” He made sure the Condé Nast publications triggered in readers an instant sense of identification with what was presented on the page. “The creative process is a series of destructions. Grace Mirabella. when he announced that James Truman. Because of him. you’ll be dated. was named art director of Vogue magazine. he kept everybody mystified with abrupt decisions and unexpected turnarounds. Such a look of contempt I had never endured. please. the young editor of Details. Commenting on Liberman’s “absurdly hip” collage-approach. To this day. before walking out of the room. I always thought he was dead wrong—which only shows how dead wrong I was. replacing the formidable Mehemed Fehmy Agha.” he was fond of saying. And each time my heart would sink. And countless great art directors as well: Priscilla Peck. Lloyd Ziff. “Simply lurid. “Clarity and strength of communication is what interest me. I can’t help but wonder if Carson was not influenced by the old man’s serendipitous approach to the page. the magazines he designed were approachable and thus “readable. my dear friend”). Others relish the opportunity to tell some particularly funny story.” said Liberman. the creative process was also a series of dramatic dismissals.
a powerful forestry and timber manager. He used an antiquated vocabulary that dated from the days of Gutenberg to introduce a way of thinking that foreshadowed the revolution of the information age. Born in Kiev.” notes Lloyd Ziff. He talked of “charm” to describe a sense of ease. Although Liberman dismissed computers as “too slow. I believe that his inability to communicate with his design associates was due to the fact that his ideas were so radical. the editor. But he notes that the way Liberman worked. Alex was transferred to a chic French private school where he made valuable friends among the sons of the aristocracy. A quick study. an out-of-work actress. But in this climate of anarchy and social chaos. the Libermans left Russia and settled in Paris. he befriended Lucien Vogel. the genteel demeanor and slight British accent that would later become his trademark. and aristocratic. cultural or otherwise. the concept of modernity became something of an obsession with him: “Alex tried and tried to get everyone to be modern—his idea of modern. His mother. who was art director at House & Garden. he was already designing pages as if they were interactive screens. But the turning point for him was visiting the 1925 Paris Arts Décoratifs exhibition. After Lenin’s death in 1924. Vanity Fair. In 1921.” he said later. he could never find the appropriate words to share his vision with others. was displaying troubling behavioral symptoms. His parents were afraid he was turning into a delinquent. From then on. by age ten. Robert Capa. a Parisian weekly. architecture with Auguste Perret. and met photographers who would help him define his taste for photojournalism: André Kertez. in 1912. and Traveler in the 1980s. He asked for “vulgarity” when what he was after was impact. Liberman’s early career in design was somewhat erratic. and Brassai. urbane. he acquired there. A bleeding ulcer kept interrupting his attempts to find a line of work he would enjoy.” ten years before the introduction of the Macintosh. with layered rather than linear narratives. A man employees loved to describe as suave. Although very articulate. In 1933. and was briefly employed by Cassandre. His father.He was not a teacher. apparently with Lenin’s personal consent. He studied painting with André Lhote. the young Liberman. created a children’s theater to keep starving urchins off the street. Looking back. then called art moderne. Liberman was no stranger to revolutions. juxtaposing photographic and typographical elements. a sensitive and difficult child. 61 . Russia. He was only a teenager. he got a job at VU. he couldn’t begin to describe them. prospered under Lenin’s regime. He called “provincial” layouts that were too rigid. There. was more reminiscent of Russian Constructivism than of French Art Deco. he remembers the first days of the Bolshevik upheaval. yet the discovery of Art Deco. was “one of the most important events in my life. he was shipped to school in England where he was forced to learn manners. and one of the very first news magazines to use reportage photography.
In the late 1930s. Liberman fell deeply in love with a married woman. He would have loved to wrestle with concepts such as “perceived quality. Tatiana du Plessis. I too became partially disabled with a frozen shoulder. soon to be his wife. He went out of his way to undermine art directors in front of editors. Clare’s husband. he felt.” 62 . With remarks like “This layout is utterly banal.” he could reduce some of the most talented designers to tears. He trained three generations of editors to belittle the opinion of their visually oriented co-workers. Liberman actually carried a grudge against art directors. a striking beauty who was a niece of famous Russian actor and director Konstantin Stanislavsky (inventor of The Method acting). He didn’t want them to be artists. and the role of all editorial designers.” “brand equity. The old man was impressed with Liberman’s experience with photojournalism at VU. He had rejected it. a German ski champion.” Unfortunately. the notion of branding was still in its infancy. Liberman can be credited with weakening the authority of editorial art directors in the USA. in 1962. you are a journalist. During his career at CNP. Back in 1931. you could easily spot art directors: they were the walking wounded. Today. Alex Liberman thought of himself as a journalist—a super editor with visual understanding. The invasion of France by Hitler’s army in 1940 forced their fate: Tatiana’s French aristocratic husband was killed while trying to join exiled general Charles de Gaulle in England. the founder of the company that still bears his name. What a pity. was a success—and Nast was sorry he had missed the opportunity to start a breakthrough publication. every publication in America has at least one editor who once worked at CNP and refers to QuarkXPress and Photoshop users as “my art people. the prototype for a weekly picture magazine called Life.” and “visual territory. and Liberman never came across the use of that term. they were rubbing their hands. the folks wearing neck braces. Clare Booth Luce had submitted to Nast. Alex escaped to New York with Tatiana. He understood his role. Liberman was quickly hired by Condé Nast. launched in the late thirties by Henry Luce. Liberman spent five decades fighting the idea that editorial design was an artistic endeavor. When Liberman proposed. Now Life. during his job interview. and lower-back problems. Nast loved it. wouldn’t you say?” or “Remember: You are not a scarf designer. he was appointed editorial director of all Condé Nast magazines. her boss at the time. In New York. In the hallways of CNP. and her daughter. He never liked the title of art director and was relieved when.” Instead of rewriting the art director’s job description. to be what we call today “brand managers. to inject some reportage in Vogue. after a brief marriage with Hilda Sturm. Francine. but managers of the image of the magazine. While at Self. Editors who attended the daily public floggings of art directors would look at their shoes in embarrassment—but internally. From that day on. Their title. was misleading. tension migraines.
With each passing year at CNP. letting his growing resentment show through. this time at Self. Careful to cultivate a Clark Kent. a process he believed could only produce preconceived and banal solutions. he carved out a new. in his studio at home. Like Carson would do fifteen years later. not an “art. the artist. above all. younger niche for Vogue. In fact. “Art is the violent expression of resentment against the human condition. Liberman led two distinct lives. in his spare time.” Rose was misinformed. she treated the magazine as a series of collages. Marie Harrison. in the 1960s. Harper’s Bazaar. At long last.” he told Barbara Rose. is. In 1989. Diana Vreeland had been replaced by Grace Mirabella. circulation began to rise dramatically. I spent long hours in the Vogue art department. painstakingly trying to fit type around Liberman’s complex photomontages. “I never took out fewer than two ribs. Bazaar was a thorn in Liberman’s side. And advertisers loved being associated with a smart fashion publication that embraced the spirit of the Pepsi generation. he managed to become a prolific artist— furiously painting huge canvases or making large-scale environmental sculptures that won critical acclaim in the New York art world. the absolute leader in terms of design and visual innovation.” When I first encountered Liberman. As such. to differentiate Vogue from its competition. Tatiana. Diana Vreeland set him free. and the Vogue art department.” As far as he was concerned. a man of taste.” she wrote in 1981. in the late 1970s.Liberman considered art direction a profession. was run by Rochelle Udell. “Laying out a beautiful picture in a beautiful way is a bloody bore. not an office. Like him. The magazine layouts were deliberately untidy. Alexey Brodovitch. wantonly pasting together her models’ body parts to get the “perfect whole. where I worked as a paste-up assistant. By now. the “Silver Fox. Liberman showed less and less patience with issues of taste. But he did what a good brand manager would do: instead of trying to play catch-up with Bazaar. and Jessica Daves. art was something one did in a studio. was throwing paint by the bucketful on oversized canvases.” Liberman was impressed. the editorial director of CNP.” she once said. Liberman had dropped all pretense of good taste. As soon as he did that.” she said. “Alexander Liberman. “Alexander Liberman. he would become an ambitious abstract expressionist by night. Edna Woolman Chase. charcoal-graysuit persona by day. His wife. is deeply suspicious of taste. called him Superman. working as fast as possible to try to bypass the mental process. Rose was under the impression that Liberman kept that resentment a private matter. during weekends. Still under the influence of its legendary art director. “I put legs and arms and heads together. Meanwhile.” as some editors now called him. I jumped at the opportunity to work with him again. Although he had 63 . the author of a monograph on his work as an artist. He became committed to banishing forever the “vision of loveliness” he had endured at the beginning of his tenure at Condé Nast from the very proper ladies who were Vogue’s early editors: Josephine Redding.
I should have known better: at Condé Nast. He did concede to his biographers that at Self there was “not much difference in the psychological process between a composition on canvas and arranging material like this on a page. it’s at Self.” The pages he designed then and there were a debauch of bold type and cutpaper blocks of color. Helen Maryles. The magazine had lost its sacro-saint “readability.” For the first time ever. Alexandra Penney. It was a commercial disaster.” Liberman. we were ready in battle formation: One assistant was at my side with scissors. Liberman says: “If ever I have done what I’d call my own layouts. with tiny pieces of transparent tape stuck at the end of her ten digits. the editor who had hired me. finger extended. when the painter was in his late seventies—still mentally alert and youthful in spite of age and poor health. with its whimsical color-blocks and elegant yet topsy-turvy typography. or alert the photo department. And indeed.retained his suave. another was posted next to the color copier. I was fired—and rightly so—for encouraging a seventy-eight-year-old man to be creative on the job. written by Dodie Kazanjian and Calvin Tomkins. Anthea Disney. knife. 64 . was on tape duty. palms open. I galvanized my staff and made it clear to Liberman that my entire art department was at his service. The Self layouts were an unmitigated homage to the author of “The Dance. the youngest designer. Liberman was doing “art” at the office. had been breaking his own rules—having fun and doing “art” at the office instead of striving to keep the layouts upbeat yet accessible. art direction is not supposed to be an artistic endeavor. a third was assigned to the phones to keep the lines open in case Liberman got a call. was fired unceremoniously for not following Liberman’s directions. Liberman had met him briefly in 1949. find a color swatch. standing next to Liberman. and loupe. I decided to look at the situation as a chance to resolve the Liberman mystery once and for all. In his biography. soon after I joined CNP.” So this was it. David-Niven look. The advertisers hated the “new” Self. I was told that he was fiercer than ever. Now. In no position to assert myself with the new editor. Alex. The readers didn’t get it either. we were on a roll. Liberman had a chance to emulate his favorite artist. The newsstand circulation took a nosedive. As soon as the great man walked into the room. For the next six months. a look reminiscent of the papiers découpés technique Matisse favored at the end of his career. the Self experiment represented a brief moment of reconciliation between Clark Kent and Superman—between the editorial director and the artist. in collaboration with me and my staff. I will never forget the sight of her. I had two “runners” ready to spring to action to fetch an editor. In a long career dedicated to overcoming aesthetic considerations.
TV. after being an art director for Rolling Stone. so really. so it felt like a natural transition. For many years before. Basically. since I’d never really worked with a variety of clients and could. SH: Drew. and the reason the position opened up was I had come to realize there was a lot more my firm needed to be doing beyond design. I had been in the position Gail was going to occupy (senior art director). Of my peers. what designer wouldn’t want to create theater posters? The opening spreads we did at Rolling Stone were very much like mini posters. so we carry a large part of giving that project a look and feel. so I couldn’t pass it up. Ultimately. if you have a play that is funny then you make a funny poster. the stars were in alignment. Drew was taking a bigger chance on me. as well as a literal voice (we do print. Every time I’d run into Drew. This has to do with anything from how budgets are spent. what made you hire her to be your lead designer/art director? Drew Hodges: What we do is a combination of advertising and that dreaded word—branding. he’d either just moved to a bigger space or had expanded the business. of course. Gail is currently the senior art director at the firm. radio.Creating Content: Giving Design a “Voice” A Conversation with Drew Hodges and Gail Anderson Creative Director/Principal and Senior Art Director. Gail. knowing that Gail did not have advertising experience. and most importantly. which I can only call “communicating. The timing was perfect. Drew went on to found a successful advertising and design firm dedicated to Broadway and entertainment. to work with young and enthusiastic people. only see things from a design perspective. We are the “coming attractions” for that piece of theater. for which I have an extraordinarily knowledgeable director named Jim Edwards. I welcomed the opportunity to continue to work with a galaxy of typefaces. at first. but also a new initiative with the 65 . to creating new programs to help position a show in the market—radio. and half of what that play needs to achieve in the way of advertising is done: giving a voice and personality to something that is unknown. Ironically. what made you decide to work on theater posters? Gail Anderson: I was always aware of what Drew was doing and was continually impressed with Spot’s work. I’d always thought I’d like to work with Drew at some point. SpotCo. to continue to assign art. since we are selling the arts.” for lack of a better term. Drew’s was the job that was most enviable and exciting. I mean. New York Steven Heller: You were classmates at the School of Visual Arts. and television).
Vinny Sainato. To be fair.Internet—working with sponsors. That’s become a critical and extremely helpful addition to the process. which can be ten months to ten years. As the client meeting for a show approaches. SH: How much of your work is devoted to designing and how much is devoted to overseeing design? Gail. and hopefully we all are learning and gaining in strength from each other in whatever we know less well. or has a clear idea of a particular direction that should be explored. My position is now the one that leads the advertising work most directly in the broad sense. Also. So to put it simply. and account managers. So basically I needed to replace myself. none of us has formal advertising training. do you have the luxury to spend the majority of your time designing? GA: I do a lot of rough sketches on paper and spend a healthy chunk of my day with the designers. even the creation of new content to carry advertising to help the success of these shows. I had known Gail for years. but it really is not a good fit with the kinds of projects we are on. the advertising art director. I love work that is quietly beautiful. while the advertising art director takes a leadership role in the selling aspect once a brand has been launched. press. and we were lucky enough to find project work that suits that duality. since SVA. the writers. or coolly minimal. 66 . whether he makes a comment in passing. while my two art directors split my old role—Gail takes leadership in design. but I’m very involved in all of the work that comes from my department. And I realized I was the only one in my office who could lead that charge. and I always thought our work shared a kind of exuberance. and it needed to be with someone with whom I never would worry about the quality of the design and the voice that design took. I didn’t want a true advertising art director. and no one has a better hand. Drew’s involved too. Part of what I hope makes our work unique is that it succeeds as design as well as advertising. which I really enjoy. Entertainment is unusual in that people are looking for your graphics to be in their own way entertaining. there’s a more formal internal meeting where we get feedback from Drew. There aren’t a lot of pieces that I sit at my desk and work on alone at this point. I decided to hire two art directors to replace me—one overseeing all work until the launch of that project—usually the first ad in the New York Times—and then another art director to oversee that brand and interpret it going forward through the life of the show. It’s important to talk through ideas before people get too enmeshed in what can sometimes turn into fairly elaborate comps.
illustrator: Isabelle Derveaux. designers: Gail Anderson and Jessica Disbrow. 67 . 2004. creative director: Drew Hodges.The Good Body.
designers: Drew Hodges and Darren Cox. creative director: Drew Hodges. 68 . 2003.Gypsy. art director: Gail Anderson.
creative director: Drew Hodges. designers: Sam Eckersley and Darren Cox. 2005.Julius Caesar. 69 . art director: Gail Anderson.
2005. creative director: Drew Hodges. typographer: Anthony Bloch. designer: Jessica Disbrow.Sweet Charity. 70 . photographer: Jill Greenberg. art director: Gail Anderson.
since it’s a given in what we do. subway platforms. but rather something that’s great and just a little different from where we’d started out. and passing that on to Gail. So if you can convince them. Each show has a team of players whose needs must be addressed. And I try to keep them from self-induced physical harm when clients just don’t. get it. and even recently set elements. b) convinces the client it will really do the job. SH: How do you creative or art direct for a Broadway show that must also pass the muster of producers. c) maybe even convinces the client that they thought of it themselves (and you have to be able to accept that maybe they really did think of the idea and be OK with that). a unique personality that will drive ideas for television. I really believe making a powerful design is only the beginning of the equation. My largest strength now is in interpreting what I think the client is looking for. how much of the overall vision for a campaign can you retain? DH: If you mean how much of it can we affect. It’s all about figuring out how to make those adjustments more than something we can merely live with. and you need to overcome that. Paula Scher taught me a long time ago: make a lot of work and pick your battles. take a deep breath and let go. it goes. can your vision for a campaign be fulfilled without changes or must there be a modicum of compromise in each case? GA: I’ve come to embrace the compromise now. and stars? Gail. However. there are also instances where the suggestions made at the table are completely valid and even good. do you have any time to focus on the design of things? DH: I occasionally design something altogether. I try to guide Gail on the journey from great design to great design we can get the client to buy to great design that can keep growing and surprising once it becomes an entire identity. but that is rare these days. know when you can make a difference and work as hard as you can to get that work through. but something that will inspire a true campaign. radio. SH: Drew. and while there are certainly times that the bravest work is eliminated. and e) finally. 71 . these are often people who are less used to doing design or marketing than you are. or won’t. The beauty of this industry is that those who say yes or no to all aspects of the campaign are right in front of you (with the exception of the occasional huge movie star. and the rest. then all of it. directors. d) is the exact visual solution that will accomplish all of this while remaining of design quality. Making a powerful design that: a) really does the job.SH: Drew. becomes more than just a design. and even some of those you might get your audience with).
It is axiomatic there will be differences given the client’s preferences. I am playing the role of the client’s needs. are you in sync with Gail’s? DH: As far as I am concerned. but I know the client is going to want it larger. but I try to respond to Drew’s interpretation as well as my own if in doubt. and I offer the first dose of real-world concerns on the experimental stuff. because we have anticipated them. And it’s all done in good humor. SH: At SpotCo. I sometimes read the reactions a little differently because I have less history with the producers. taste issues never really come up—if I did not believe in her taste I don’t know why I would have hired her from the getgo. I can be pretty blunt about asking them to kill the ones that just don’t have a chance after a while. frankly. but do you have differences over matters of style and taste? Gail. are you in sync with Drew’s concerns? GA: I’ve come to understand Drew’s concerns more and more. there are also times when my voice is the loudest. It’s important that the designers develop their own voice and not just execute my (or Drew’s) vision. so I can take it if he’s delivering bad news. This just happened on Wednesday with Denzel Washington. and I will accept that but ask for another option to cover a need I foresee the client will have. SH: Drew.” Sometimes Gail argues it is better this way and it should stay—at least then we both get a chance to refine our arguments before we meet with the client. and certainly to try as many ideas as they can generate. A good day is when the work is beautiful but we know the client will have trouble with it and we are able to predict that well enough so that we can show the work for its quality and solve client concerns as they voice them. how much freedom do you offer designers? GA: I like to think that the designers have a good deal of freedom to experiment. But admittedly. “That type looks beautiful. and trying to put that problem or concern forward early so Gail has the time to respond to it and solve it in a way that maintains the beauty the work had when first conceived. She has better taste than me. 72 . or what I am guessing they will be. It is very common for me to say. so it’s not a big deal. This gives clients the assurance to take the risk and go with the stronger work. The variety of styles is key even when I know I would have done it differently. since I attend the initial meetings where the art is presented and I see firsthand how demanding people can be.SH: You are both seasoned designers. is there room for all the designers on staff to have a shot at a campaign? Gail. Sometimes Gail will argue that a piece should stay as is. Mainly. Our aesthetic is similar.
That is a given. once the work is well on its way. And Drew’s abundant energy divided by my “Is she still breathing?” calm plus Vinny’s razor-sharp wit probably equals one normal person between the three of us. I may ask for something that is not there to be tried and put into the presentation. Sometimes I respond to their work directly as I am walking through their area. I expect them to be on budget and on time. I expect them to try and give a client what they have asked for. How much freedom do you offer Gail that she can pass on to designers? DH: I let them make what they feel is right. There’s so much room for growth at Spot that I expect to be challenged for a good long time. after an initial briefing from me to Gail—however. I hope for them to learn the ability to lead a room of clients. I expect the art directors to create beautiful work. Vinny looks at design solutions from a completely different perspective. while Drew’s lie more in photography. Part of my strengths lie in being a good art director of illustration. I just add to what is there. where I can get bogged down in minutia. which they always do. I rarely edit existing work. That one we are all working on. hopefully as a friend. That’s made me sometimes question my approach to problem solving—not a bad thing for a jaded old designer. and keep good hours. SH: What are your mutual expectations? What do you want and what can you learn from each other? GA: Being on the senior management tier of a company is a new experience and I’m enjoying expanding my little world beyond design. Gail assigns the designers (there are five) the projects. but not without having what we consider to be a better option presented right alongside it. I expect them to laugh as much as is humanly possible— if only to drown our sorrows. and they always do. but I have tried to avoid that—it ultimately undermines Gail’s voice and can confuse the designers. respected. 73 . DH: Oy. so we’re able to tap each other’s resources as needed.SH: Drew. sometimes more nuts and bolts. Way too much. and when neither happens I expect them to tell me early so we can do whatever needs to be done to minimize the concern on the client’s part. when leading that room is akin to herding cats. And I expect them to treat me with respect. I expect them to try and have a larger idea beyond the comp itself so the work can become an advertising campaign rather than just a poster. make sure their staff feels listened to. I expect them to manage their departments. I expect them to work very hard. even when it is ridiculous. I suppose. Gail knows what is strongest and puts that forward. and considered.
05: Is Art Direction Design?
Design vs. Art Direction: A Question of Character More Than Training A Conversation with Dimitri Jeurissen Art Director/Partner, BASE, Brussels, Barcelona, New York
Véronique Vienne: In your brochure, under the title “What Base does,” you list art direction on the top. How do you define it? Dimitri Jeurissen: Here, the art director/graphic designer relationship is
critical. This is the difference between us and a traditional advertising agency, where the emphasis is on the copywriter/art director relationship. Our main expertise is image-creation, graphic identity, advertising images, and branding images. We are not in a traditional hard-core advertising business. The advertising work we do is not aggressive or bottom-line oriented. We get involved in image campaigns—we are never asked to solve short-term problems. We follow the same pattern as a studio like Baron & Baron. Fabien Baron started as an editorial art director, but then went into advertising, opened a design studio, became a photographer, a product designer, a furniture designer, and did some fashion branding as well. He is an excellent example of the way art direction cuts across definitions.
VV: What is the difference between an art director and a graphic designer? DJ: Physically, it is very different. A graphic designer designs with type and
does layouts. An art director is someone who puts together teams of photographers, graphic designers, stylists, etc., in order to convey the right message. An art director is like an orchestra conductor.
VV: How can someone who is trained as a graphic designer become an art director? DJ: It is a question of character perhaps, more than training. Art direction
is between creation and commerce. To succeed in this position, you need to have a lot of energy. You can’t be lazy. You also need to be somewhat charismatic in order to lead a team. I became an art director because I was entrepreneurial. I liked having people around me and I liked looking at all aspects of a project. It was also what I was good at. I had a knack for getting things done. At the beginning of my career, I was doing design work, like everyone else. Little by little, though, I realized that I was better at some things than others.
VV: If you had advice to give a young art director, what would it be? DJ: Be open. Look around, that’s the most important thing. Go to
exhibitions, to plays, to gallery openings, to magazine parties, whatever. You have to absorb a lot of things. And not just things having to do with the art scene. I am open all the time, even when I pick up my son from school. I listen to what the kids say, notice how they dress, and watch how they interact with each other. This attitude is what you have to bring to a project. Graphic designers focus on the page. In contrast, art directors must look around beyond what’s in front of them.
VV: So the expression “art director” is a good one. The word “director” not only suggests that you are “directing,” it also suggests that you are looking in many “directions.” DJ: Yes, you need people skills and you need to be curious and adaptable.
Being an art director is a very social function.
VV: What gives you the authority to direct others? DJ: You have to be sure of yourself. For example, I never bring three design
solutions to a client’s presentation. I only show them the one I believe in. There is always one that’s better than the two others. It’s an error to try to cover all the possibilities. You don’t go to the doctor and say, “What’s wrong with me? Give me three options.”
If there are some problems with the design solutions you propose, of course you work on it further. There is always a conversation—obviously, as a designer, there are a lot of things you don’t know about your clients’ products or services. But what you try to establish is an exchange of rational ideas rather than subjective reactions.
VV: You also list “brand positioning” as an expertise. How did you learn about branding? DJ: Most advertising agencies build up branding as an exact science. But I
never felt I had to study marketing in order to understand branding. Instead, I try to use common sense to solve branding issues. I try to anticipate what is right and appropriate, and try to check my gut feelings against others who have a different expertise. You can do all the studies you want with a brand agency and follow historic examples and still fail. I remember when Dr. Pepper was trying to launch its soda on the European market. They did everything by the book to make it successful. But no one liked the taste of the stuff. It was a total failure. You can’t solve every problem with branding! Branding happened naturally for us. We started doing corporate identity for galleries, books, and so on. And now we are doing branding for a fashion sportswear company, for a television station, for a political party, for a number of cultural institutions, for a lingerie brand, and for a car wash in New York’s Chelsea.
VV: Why do clients come to you? In other words, what’s your brand? DJ: Our design solutions are always pretty direct and evident. Honest too. I
like the word honest to describe what we do. With the result that sometimes we are asking ourselves: “Is it enough?” But I think that simplicity is what makes us different. Our Web site is an example. We used to have this flashy Web site but eventually got fed up with it. Truth be told, my partners Thierry Brunfaut, Marc Panero, and I are not of the generation of Web designers, so we were a little overwhelmed with all the technological aspects of our first Web site. We simplified it and designed it as a series of simple buttons. Just click and go where you want to go.
VV: Your main office is in Brussels. You also have an office in Barcelona. Why did you open an outpost in New York when so many of your clients are in Europe? DJ: Art direction is about making all the right connections and about
knowing all the right people—and New York is where all the talent is. It is the international crossroad for all the professionals we work with: the photographers, the models, the agencies, the designers. We quickly realized that
evolved from the realization that we had no celebrities in Belgium—no native actresses or movie stars to put on the cover of the magazine. with its distinctive white circle that systematically obliterated the face of the model. we were a healthy magazine in that way. and so we had to stop—even though we loved the collaboration and the experience we gained from it. So we were very enthusiastic when the opportunity came up to get involved with this new concept. the editor/publisher ran out of money. And it was more appropriate for me to come here since I am the art director for Base and I deal with talent all the time. we made this lack of celebrities central to our brand.” as it was called? It received quite a lot of press and some design awards here in this country. VV: Can you tell me about BEople. We did seven issues—on the kitchen table. Instead of apologizing for it. BEople is no longer on the newsstand! The cover. at Base. but we. 78 . Advertising was fine. This type of magazine was in our head for a while. “a magazine about a certain Belgium. so to speak—with little financial support. whereas Thierry and Marc are more graphic design oriented. were not making any profit. But eventually.someone had to go open a New York office. DJ: Unfortunately.
I know he reads it. so she edits accordingly. and that everything is readable and easily accessible. The design of the magazine should add to—not take away from—the reader’s experience of looking inside the head of whomever we feature. and decides what to show. because I trust Mike’s direction) is that the layout doesn’t override the pieces we’re featuring. or if I feel one image is more important to the story than another. SH: Michael. Step Inside Design A design magazine is difficult to design because it is about design. Some editors get very involved in the typographical scheme of their magazines. how do you address these concerns and still produce a magazine with a visual personality? Michael Ulrich: I try not to over-design the stories. how much latitude do you give your art director at the expense of the word (if any)? EP: I don’t really give Mike any visual direction when I hand over a story. when I’m given a fifteen-hundred-word story for a two-page feature. There are occasions when I go back to him and ask him to put a different image in or rearrange images to make better sense with the order of the text.Less Is More: Art Directing a Magazine about Design A Conversation with Emily Potts and Michael Ulrich Editor and Art Director. She also has a clear hierarchy for each issue. there’s a lot. SH: Michael. Steven Heller: Emily. I use simple layouts and plenty of white space to create a visual atmosphere that allows the designer’s personality to show through. looks at the images provided. there isn’t any compromise. SH: Emily. so she rarely over-writes. She has a clear understanding of our audience. The balance between text content and visual content always has to be negotiated between editor and art director. which makes my job easier. what is the most important visual concern you impart to your art director? Emily Potts: My main concern (which really isn’t a concern. how much compromise is there in the overall relationship of text to image? MU: Emily gives more direction than she gives herself credit: when I’m given a fifteen-hundred-word story for a six-page feature. others are more laissez faire. 79 .
PhotoLibrary. 80 . PictureQuest. art director: Michael Ulrich.“20/20” cover. photography: Leon Bird.
art directors: Michael Ulrich and Greg Samata. 81 .“Reignited” cover. designer: Michael Ulrich.
SH: Michael. how much freedom do you feel you have to achieve the most integral typographic result? MU: Complete. except when it comes to pull quotes. which are represented in the coverlines. 82 . SH: Emily. He usually has the concept nailed. you have a cover personality. I choose which portions of the text deserve more attention if we’re using pull quotes on a page. but I’ve found that if I take her suggestions ninety-nine percent of the time we create a better story. how hands-on are you when it comes to the typographic (and indeed the pictorial) layouts? EP: I’m not very hands-on at all. but how much direction do you give to the art director on a cover? EP: I decide the most important stories/themes for the issue. SH: Emily. Obviously. art director: Michael Ulrich.“Design at Warp Speed” spread. So many people get involved. photography: Brigham Field. so it’s more an exercise to see if we are in agreement. the cover images need to relate to the coverlines and content within. Covers are the most difficult entity of a magazine. Sometimes Emily comes back with concerns about readability or flow. Mike chooses several images/concepts that he feels relate to the theme and the two of us make a decision as far as which image to use.
how would you define your relationship to your editor? MU: We have the same hidden agenda: to create the best design magazine on the planet. 83 . what determines how you design this important piece of editorial real estate? MU: We have guidelines that were set down at the redesign stage. The overall relationship between editor and art director is critical to making a viable end product. SH: Emily. and my goal is to meet each guide as best I can. We don’t always agree. which can be good and bad. Everything else is just details. but we respect each other enough to rely on each other’s strengths when it’s time to make a decision. Sometimes personalities grate. other times the two principals are yin and yang. there isn’t much discussion. We’re both very opinionated. so we’re very compatible—we understand where the other one is coming from.SH: Michael. SH: Michael. The cover is by far the hardest page in the book for me to design. I start all over. if I don’t. how would you define your relationship to your art director? EP: Mike and I have worked together for several years. If I nail the cover.
Great art direction is first and foremost about ideas. It can be a writer who knows how words and images combine to express an idea. New York Steven Heller: What does the term art director mean to you? Ken Carbone: An art director is someone who does just that. “The road to success is always under construction. Sometimes it’s a client with great vision who clearly articulates a creative path. This is where it helps to develop a broad frame of reference and maintain a high level of intellectual curiosity that continuously fills your creative well.” how do you fulfill their needs while retaining your own creative integrity and that of your designers? KC: It starts with distinguishing what a client “needs” from what they say they “want. I believe you must fill the gap left in the absence of any of these. An AD has to be part navigator. SH: As the co-principal of the Carbone Smolan Agency. client satisfaction.” This for CSA often involves rewriting the “brief ” and exposing 84 . what is your overall responsibility? KC: Running the business with my partner Leslie Smolan. part diplomat in finding the essential balance between art and commerce. takes all of the emotional and persuasive power of art and directs it toward a design solution that works for business. He or she must know how to motivate a design team to do their best to meet the functional goals of a project. SH: In working with your “clients. Carbone Smolan Agency.” This is on a plaque in our office as a reminder that there is always room for improvement. SH: Given all this. creative direction. SH: Does an art director have to be a designer? KC: It helps but is not essential. and the necessary R&D to improve our work and services. As a designer. This last part is particularly important. This can come from someone with a highly developed aesthetic sensibility but no formal training. Our work is never done. I once got a fortune cookie message that read. new business. what is the single most important aspect of your role? KC: Turning no into yes. part coach.The Philosophical Approach: Turning No into Yes A Conversation with Ken Carbone Principal. and negotiate with a client when necessary to go beyond convention for exceptional results.
classic. 85 . SH: What is that? KC: Simple is better. or edgy. often the limitations of working in the service sector for conservative clients forces you to think more conceptually in order to forge tangible associations to the immaterial. SH: How do you manage the design of others? KC: It is similar to my philosophy about teaching. a single line of great copy and well-placed type on a sexy fashion photo is sometimes all that is needed. This begins with our “evaluation and insight” phase of work. a design team has a concrete target and is very motivated to do their best work. When our clients and we understand where we’re going and what the outcome should be. SH: Would you say that you have an art directorial style? KC: More of a philosophical approach. This principle can be translated into many different styles: cool. but I prefer to be the coach on the sidelines. The best creative results happen when a design team openly explores various directions through experimentation and discovery. we can be working on projects involving art. If the work is too far off track creatively. there can be any number of possible creative paths to get there. and art direction. Both ways work equally well. However. There’s little room for a “signature” style but if there is any thread that runs through our work.new opportunities that will benefit their business. finance. Once this foundation is in place. or science. However. SH: Is there room for creative experimentation? KC: There is always room for experimentation. there must be the acknowledgment that the work has a commercial end. where “persuasion” and emotional appeal can be translated into powerful visuals. because we are making design not art. but not at the expense of a client’s business. and art delivered with simplicity and clarity. I believe half of the challenge of doing great design is having a clear and agreed-upon strategy. We have learned to be extremely nimble stylistically because our clientele is very diverse. health. entertainment. Greater creative opportunities often lie in the consumerproducts field. For example. I try to give an example with a sketch or suggest an idea that can direct a project toward the target solution. law. I believe you can learn by experience and/or by example. We often get complex problems for service businesses that have nothing tangible to show. content. On a given day. content management. These are tough assignments requiring strategic thinking. We have found that there is a great deal of creative latitude for these businesses if the design is on strategy and the client is willing to set new standards. it’s a merger of strategy.
We have proven processes and fixed deliverables that can be replicated for a variety of business sectors. KC: To have fewer clients. do a lot of business together. Where we are integral to their company. I see these services as “scale-able” and profitable ways of leveraging close to three decades of experience for a varied clientele. to build on our legacy. but ones with whom we have an exceptional relationship built on a mutual understanding of the risks and rewards of doing exceptional design. and where a social bond strengthens the work.SH: What is your ultimate goal? KC: Can I have three? SH: Sure. Finally. we have had success “productizing” our services to deliver high value for our clients. Also. 86 . I’d trade fifty clients for five of these. my goal is to allow for the very talented group we now have to emerge as the stewards of CSA. and evolve the agency in exciting ways creatively and as a company. This is definitely a promising area of our business that I would like to expand.
some I had never met before. This is a silly thing to admit. Priest Media. and I realized that there was a big gap in the women’s magazine market—there was no magazine for “the thinking woman. more testosterone. RP: Some of the men’s magazines are a little too earnest or their humor was too sophomoric. and Editor-in-Chief. More Véronique Vienne: Peggy. My idea was to design a magazine that she would like. And they certainly didn’t want to be told how to please their guy. 87 . VV: Robert. but I remember that Robert wore a really great suit. exactly? RP: Several covers. or decided that it wasn’t worth figuring out. This magazine wasn’t going to be about that. respect. I looked at their portfolios. Usually. The decision is more instinctual. so I had to like him or her. grown-up personality. This one anyway seemed like a perfect fit for me. Not to be arrogant. girlish stuff. which I found offensive in terms of the kind of vision I was after for More magazine. do you do any research to make sure that it’s the right fit for you? Robert Priest: I don’t have time for much research. I show a couple of different design directions to an editor. More had a warmer. how did you pick Robert to be your design director? Peggy Northrop: I interviewed six or seven designers and sat with them— some I knew. I knew that my readers didn’t want a handbook on how to live their lives.” I figured that I could take some of the design elements that had worked for a men’s magazine and adapt them to More. and buy. I worked on men’s magazines a lot. talked about what they had done before. which I loved. Let me add that I too was very impressed with Peggy’s physical presence during our first encounter. “This is it. I took my cues from the way she dressed. Either they had figured it out. I had seen a lot of pink.” VV: What did you show her. I figured that I would have to spend long hours with whomever I hired. let’s face it.” I thought. italic type.The Editor’s Choice: Designer or Art Director? A Conversation with Robert Priest and Peggy Northrop Principal. “This is good. The way he looked—so sharp—matched the elegance of his work. but I felt so in synch with Peggy’s vision that I just presented her one approach and said. but I felt early on that I had nailed the problem and that it was only going to be a matter of refinement. PN: I was certainly attracted by the idea that Robert had designed men’s magazines. In other portfolios. I wanted a bold and strong design—nothing silly and prissy like so many other women’s magazines. some columns. before accepting a magazine redesign job. two features. a publication that is supposed to appeal to a grown-up woman with.
February 2005. photographer: Frank Ockenfels 3. More magazine. design director: Robert Priest.Annette Bening cover. designers: Robert Priest and Grace Lee. 88 . creative director: Phyllis Cox.
. the person who is doing a redesign has to do some tiptoeing. Admittedly. But when I was employed by a magazine. Annette Bening spread. I now realize. even though I try to communicate to them that I don’t want their job! Around an art director. But as soon as I started turning up the cards. The fact that I had the freedom to explore the new format with the editor alone made the process very interesting. it was more of an evolution than a drastic change. I was able to do my own redesign while art directing the magazine. February 2005. Robert had taken this leap and created a format that allowed me to express my point of view and develop my ideas. I looked at it and thought: “This is really it. I felt relieved. 89 . What I had envisioned in words was realized in design. design director: Robert Priest. designer: Robert Priest. RP: That’s one of the issues I face every time I do a redesign: Editors come with art directors who are potentially threatened by my presence. or did you come alone? PN: I came alone. but she was on maternity leave. photographer: Frank Ockenfels 3.” VV: Did you have someone else with you at that first presentation. creative director: Phyllis Cox. VV: How come art directors are seldom invited to do a major redesign? RP: Sometimes art directors are simply too busy. and I was feeling quite a lot of trepidation.PN: I remember how the layouts were presented upside down on the table when I walked in. but still . That is unusual. I would have brought my art director. . More magazine. I would have felt slighted if I had not been asked to handle the redesign.
designer: Robert Priest and Grace Lee.Paulina Porizkova cover. 90 . photographer: Jason Bell. More magazine. design director: Robert Priest. March 2005. creative director: Phyllis Cox.
I am very careful about that during most redesigns. “I prefer the attitude of this model. I do feel that I am trespassing on somebody else’s turf. March 2005. chances are it will not be able to pull it off. Whether or not to involve the art director in a redesign is a tricky question. This was a different situation. Peggy gave me the opportunity to explore a wide range of possibilities. VV: Peggy. “Whatever the current budget is. I expect an art director to push me out of my comfort zone. You have to design with the anticipation of what the politics of the art department are going to be. I just say. But I can’t baby the art director. though. design director: Robert Priest. I said. I want more money!” I had to have a bigger photography budget. More magazine. before I signed up. whatever the situation. with too many bells and whistles. If you make the design too complicated.Paulina Porizkova spread. creative director: Phyllis Cox. I have to assume that. photographer: Jason Bell. he or she can deal with it. So. VV: Do you take into account the sensibility or the skill level of the art director when approaching a redesign? RP: I do. are you taking into account that a redesign usually costs more money than the previous format? Are you lobbying for a bigger design budget? PN: I knew that I wanted to do a redesign before taking the job of editor. 91 . she’s got the expression I am looking for. VV: Do you get very involved with the art department? PN: I am not the kind of editor who wants to be an art director. designer: Robert Priest and Angela Riechers.” At the same time.
about vibrancy. not less. from the kind of colors she wore. I felt. but I want it. yes—but not in any formal way. It’s the same thing with this magazine. That’s why I wanted that visual “crackle” in the design. Most editors like to look at layouts and kick it around with others for a while. I like people to have a chance to express their opinion about a redesign. VV: Peggy. there are people who find the exuberance of the design too much. fierce colors of men’s magazines. but the whole package. And again I took my cues from Peggy. what did you tell Robert about the mandate for the cover? PN: I told him that the women’s magazines covers were usually too busy. VV: Did you give Peggy some directives about the kind of photography you envisioned for the magazine? RP: I make sample layouts with photographs that I swipe from here and there. RP: It takes a while to figure out the covers of a magazine. There is no right way to do this. so that they feel involved. are less controllable than you think. like the covers of More.VV: Do you ask other editors on your staff to give their opinion regarding the design? PN: No. “Need?” No. but also not the dark. I have been lucky—the editors I have worked for have been very appreciative. I asked him to give me a new logo—less squat—and also to pull the camera away from the model. about exploring. Do we need another magazine? Probably not. These images are my expression of how the 92 . winked. Particularly if you try to do something that has not been done before. PN: But celebrities covers. VV: Did you present the design to the rest of the editorial staff? RP: Casually. Whatever works for the person is what’s best. More is not about need. PN: I remember someone looking at some detail on a page and asking. About wanting More. “Do we really need this design element?” and Robert said. RP: The early conversations about the cover were also about the color palette. I explained. it’s about want. as a source of inspiration. and repeated after him. RP: You are a rarity in that way. The best photographs are not always the ones you first intended for the cover. and there was a sameness about them. with more of a sense of the environment. We wanted to communicate at a first glance that this wasn’t your daughter’s magazine. You have to try different things for at least a year before you find out what works for you. didn’t want the surgical close-up. we don’t need it. “Need?” and I looked at him. Sometimes you’ve got to go with what you have. Do I need a new pair of shoes? No. Rich colors. I don’t believe in design by committee. Frankly. strong-women colors—not soft pastels. My readers. Our name is more. It’s about pleasure.
is it hard. I decided that my independence was too important. and that keeps evolving. VV: Robert. With More. while Robert gets to go on and do his own thing. photographs that express the right spirit. because they did not necessarily exist. in too short a time. for example. and advertising problems! 93 . The position was open and Peggy is a very inspiring person to be around. to let go of the magazine after you have completed the redesign? Is it hard to move on? RP: Yes. It was a challenge. more often than not. I recently realized that. that sells well. Now. VV: It’s hard to believe! I know so many women in their forties who are simply gorgeous! PN: The readers of More magazine expect to see “real” women. But in the end. I was briefly tempted to take the art director’s job that was offered to me. not models—yet we have to find a way to make their photographs look heroic. the problem is not the photography but the styling. PN: I miss the fun we had redesigning the magazine. and we have not been paying enough attention to the crucial details that make the picture look sharp. budget.magazine might look. it was very difficult to come across photographs that were perfect for our vision. it’s hard. The hardest part for me is to find the right swipes. We are trying to do too much. to find great photographs of women in their forties. You want it to become a magazine that interests people. I have to deal with the daily reality of solving editorial. in the end. marketing. staff.
at what point is the magazine “your own”? At what point do you have to relinquish.” I also don’t like the term graphic design. I now live in Australia (the other side of the earth) and so it was designed in London. format. Zembla Magazine Steven Heller: You’ve designed a few magazines—Big. and Sydney.. (I did this in my London studio before I moved here.What Matters: A Brain Full of Visual Images A Conversation with Vince Frost Art Director/Designer. there is no difference. but what makes for a good one? VF: When other people’s input makes it better. I am about doing. We have a twenty-four-hour studio. the face. etc. (I suppose I have just contradicted myself. Zembla. corrections. It proves to me that I can control and art direct the look of it outside the “normal” “in house” environment. The person who has overall responsibility for what the magazine looks like is the art director. It sounds to me that all an AD does is point and others do. the masthead. SH: In designing a magazine like Zembla. SH: Collaboration is essential. your ownership? VF: With Zembla. etc. if ever. Even the repro house now puts all the proofs of the whole magazine as pdfs online. Do you consider yourself an art director or a designer? Vince Frost: I am a designer. I can work during the day here on designs and send pdfs while London sleeps and vice versa. painful experience. with final artwork. The bigger picture and the big idea are what interest me as much as physically designing it. Therefore. Independent Saturday Magazine. Melbourne. (You can look at these if you wish at www.) As a designer.i-base. This is only made possible by having a great team and the incredible technology that we have today. the space. I normally put my title as “Art Director/Designer” or “Creative Director/Designer.) I must have done a couple of hundred mastheads alone. Magazines have historically given titles to the people who put a magazine together. I art direct and design it from here as well as overseeing it in London from here.) 94 .uk. password: zembla. and subbing being done in London with the editor and subs. I created the look. SH: What is the difference in your role as art director versus designer? VF: For me.co. It was a two-month. I have never been happy with this title. the pace. and Financial Times/The Business. I am about solving problems and making things look good and engaging people to create an effective outcome or to entertain. as it sounds oldfashioned and does not represent the versatility of what we do today.
open-minded. dedicated. But I rely totally on the editor being good at what he or she does and they do on me. I question and suggest and edit with the editor. nuts. SH: What makes a good art director? VF: Someone who is confident. playful. passionate. a perfectionist. 95 . a collaborator. inquisitive. a team player. and who has a brain full of visual images.SH: How much say do you as art director have about overall content? VF: I have a lot of say.
Most art directors received no management training in school. art directors don’t win awards for good management. managing budgets. they don’t like to think about it. Whether we admit it or not. production. The truth is that managing is what art directors spend most of their time doing. they often don’t want to admit it. nor do they win the admiration of their peers for them. illustrators. Management is not generally considered to be creative (although it can be). there is little cachet in being a good manager. managing pre-press. information graphics artists). managing schedules. photographers. Their management skills aren’t recognized or published in books or magazine articles. They don’t like to talk about it. management is a dirty word. Relatively few of our working hours are purely creative. 97 . For art directors. technology or legal issues.06: Do You Want to Be an Art Department Manager? Reality Check: Managing an Art Department Ina Salz To many art directors. Most of our working hours are spent managing: managing our staff. that is the reality of our job. Art schools focus on creative work and creative thinking. even if they are generally regarded as good managers. managing the creativity of others (designers.
says his number-one rule is to never hire anyone unless he’s worked with them before or freelanced for them for a while. then a boss. he has built a network of talented junior people whose careers he follows. gleaned from hard-won experience. maintains good relations with the other staff entities. the creative product suffers when there is disharmony and poor communication. “Hire good people. people from books and design studios. with the attendant search and training costs. You just have to be empathetic. A great deal can be learned from those art directors who have thrived by taking their management role seriously. maximizes the budget. what self-respecting art student would sign up for it? Management is about the last thing they have on their minds. Changes in technology and production have completely transformed the role of the art department. Though Jackie had very low staff turnover 98 . hire smart people. Longtime creative director of Warner Books Jackie Meyer always looked for people “who wanted my job” (this is the same thing my first art director.” Robert Newman. and then to mold them herself.” he says. A poorly managed art department can soak up budgets and waste resources that could be put to much better use. On the other hand. can make a huge difference in your success or failure as an art director. Their valuable advice.” New York Times Magazine creative director Janet Froelich likes to hire people from outside the magazine world. Poor management often means higher staff turnover. He admits that his reluctance to hire someone he hasn’t worked with stems from his experience that “at a big company it can be really hard to fire people. including the all-important budgetary supervision. Yet an art director who is a good manager has a far better chance at getting and keeping a good job. the implications of poor management in the art department are enormous. plus small staffs in Brussels and Hong Kong. And your management skills play a large part in the success or failure of the publication. then a friend. and successfully handles a myriad of noncreative tasks. now design director of Fortune. “I see myself as an entertainer first. Judy Garlan. said when she hired me). So most art directors come to their jobs entirely unschooled in formal management techniques and with little inherent desire to think about or examine successful management techniques. Hiring Well Design Director Joe Dizney at the Wall Street Journal oversees a staff of fifty in the New York metro area. the art department represents a fairly large cost center. then be fair and honest with them. I never wanted to be a boss. A good manager keeps his staff happy and creatively challenged. Over the years. For most publications.Is there an art school in this country with a course on how to manage an art department? And if there is. And last but not least.
learned good management skills from his father.” Michael asks candidates what magazines they read because it tells him not only about their interests but also whether they share a common design sensibility. including Entertainment Weekly. Mary Zisk. the former art director at Art & Antiques. it resulted in a huge problem for me. The one time I ignored my own rules to hire a spectacularly talented person. As art director of over half a dozen publications in my own career. but also those who had certain personality traits. the most interesting part of managing is teaching people. Weekly meetings provide “an opportunity for everyone to be physically together and shoot the breeze. and that it is a two-way street.(always a sign of a good manager). she learned how to manage well from two of her editors. Most art directors learned mentoring by being well mentored early in their own careers. which Mary took as a good sign of her interest and curiosity. But after hiring her.” He “had an epiphany” many years ago. I learned to look not only for those with typographic skills that were simpatico with my own level of taste and sensitivity. Most important: an ability to get along well in a team environment.” but he has learned that “you simply cannot communicate too much.” Michael Grossman. “I used to assume that other people knew or understood my motivation. says that for him. she resigned herself to the fact that “most people who are great aren’t going to stay too long. says he likes to hire people he knows he’s not going to hang onto.” to know that they are included in all the workings of the art department and not just stuck in their cubicles. Mary discovered that her new designer was unable to think for herself or take on any responsibility without badgering Mary about every aspect of the work. Dan visited his father’s offices many times during his childhood and observed how things worked firsthand.” He realized that everything must be said. who was art director of many large publications. he feels that management skills are 99 . During the interview. art director at Child. but in reality people were often left isolated and didn’t understand what I wanted or needed. Dan Josephs. wanted to share her one mistake in hiring. His personal style is “quite frank and informal. Now that he is a parent himself. Jack Rosenthal and Adam Moss. who was a creative director in advertising. who has been the creative director of Sports Illustrated for more than eighteen years (throughout many editorships). the job candidate asked a lot of questions. to possess intelligence and curiosity but also the ability to be articulate. We are in a business that requires teamwork and communication. Michael tries to “create an environment where people can come and work with me for a few years without friction and then move on. But Janet Froelich says that initially she was thrust into the position of art director and had to fend for herself. Subsequently. Mentoring and Teaching Steve Hoffman.
with management. and that “how you were parented affects how you manage. a cover.” As at many magazines. Many times. Although there is a hierarchy based on seniority. . If everyone is thinking creatively. he had given each of them the opportunity to think creatively. There. he learned that “you must be very sensitive to the creative process but you must offer direction and be articulate. Malcolm Frouman. The benefits of this technique are manifold: the magazine gets a fresh approach. Malcolm often assigns something tougher than what a particular staffer is accustomed to . One of the smartest things that Peter did was to assign a “big brother” to each of us. He is a firm believer in a collegial approach to design and creativity. Malcolm says. Peter simultaneously championed us and was a buffer for us. Peter oversaw the art directors of over thirty magazines at one point. A good art director realizes that a good idea can come from anyone.akin to parenting skills. Malcolm looks for opportunities to stretch his staff. Malcolm can more easily move people up. someone who was responsible for showing us the ropes and answering all of our questions. some of them had even illustrated the covers. 100 . This kind of openness fosters an environment in which everyone feels comfortable brainstorming. to think globally. He always found time to make each of us feel special and valued. there’s a little competition.” My best mentoring skills were learned from Peter Blank at Ziff Davis. which is healthy. he will be sitting in his office trying to come up with a solution when he will grab the first person walking by and pull him into the office to help. even Aurobind’s. where Aurobind Patel was the art director. most of Malcolm’s staff have been on board for many years. I also observed good mentoring at the Economist in London. art director of BusinessWeek for more than twenty-five years. . Every member of his staff had been given the opportunity to come up with ideas and design covers. experience. says he’ll take a good idea from anyone. This also had the effect of fostering creative collegiality within our group. the depth of experience of the staff increases. What I remember most is that Peter often “ran interference” for us with our editors. Aurobind proudly pointed out the staffers who were responsible for each cover. there was a wall of covers. No wonder his staff loved him . He kept us motivated and operating with a full head of steam with frequent but short staff meetings (and lavish praise). a special project. or with production. and the individual grows and feels more fulfilled. . and talent. it’s simply more likely that the choices will be better. Everyone had a window. having come up with an idea.” From his father. Or. often using his own clout when we couldn’t push something through ourselves. . everyone’s workstation was in an open area. In fact. to think big. Although this seldom happens. And if a more senior person leaves. he’ll show it to a colleague immediately for feedback. There were therefore no “secrets” and Aurobind could easily “keep his finger on the pulse.
among other things.” Fortunately. being a cheerleader. rose through the editorial ranks to become art director at San Francisco Focus. . “The funny thing is I think of Malcolm every day. preferring to give constructive criticism on an individual basis in private. always looking out for the rhythms of the book. he doesn’t believe in criticizing publicly. everyone was afraid to make a decision. “it was as if I had walked into an autocratically managed department . I learned so much from him that was positive. “I had a huge learning curve. Another BusinessWeek “graduate” is Francesca Messina. Laura Baer.” The art director should be someone who embraces the responsibility of managing the department and enjoys mentoring and motivating their staff. “It makes you aware of your style and that you can evolve it and that we need to evolve it. art director of J. Janet Froelich says she spends most of her time “talking. running interference between people with abrasive personalities and the editors. . she says. Mark Ulricksen. . I needed to instill confidence to be creative and to trust. who struck out on her own after ten years with Malcolm. . “I thought I’d be a good manager . feels strongly about teaching his staff everything he knows and is serious about taking them under his wing.” But when she first left BusinessWeek to become art director of PC Magazine. I just wanted to be creative. . He constantly gives feedback and suggestions.” Not everyone is comfortable with the role of manager. I was a lousy manager. now a successful award-winning illustrator. says she learned good mentoring skills from Malcolm. for one thing. Crew. planning. massaging egos. And the things I thought were negative I now understand more. The first thing I found in my desk was my predecessor’s stash of Maalox. getting their sensibilities to work for the magazine and directing my staff without their knowing it. being a mother. . I spend (at best) only twenty percent of my time being creative.Malcolm’s job.” When Dan Josephs was hired as art director of Child. scheming. He 101 . where he spent a total of eight years.” She had to become comfortable asserting herself and found it especially difficult to delegate. now art director of Prevention. trying to understand the human end. Dan had the opportunity (often available at large companies) of attending a management training session. You can have good intuition but there are skills to be learned. I used to wonder why Malcolm didn’t want to give himself more design time. I didn’t want to deal with everybody’s problems. Even if there’s a potential lesson for everyone in an individual’s mistake. A generic memo or a general comment at a staff meeting is a better way of imparting the message. The hardest part is critiquing .” David Armario. now design director of Guideposts Publications. Now that I am in charge. “I bring in a lot more bagels. is to see that the work of all the designers comes together as a cohesive magazine each week. Some of Malcolm’s art directors went on to art direct their own magazines.
working with chart people. and hopes that when they feel it is time to move on that they will tell him so he can help them find their next jobs. .” she says.” Malcolm Frouman believes in giving his art directors plenty of autonomy. he teleconferences with them so there can be a wrap-up. He likes to have two Number Twos: a design manager and an administrative manager. what not to respond to. “I give credit to my staffers when thanks come to me.” To make sure his overseas staffs feel included in the loop. who handles things like trafficking layouts and vacation schedules. says a good art director must know how to go to a meeting. There is no better way to earn an editor’s respect than by dispelling the unfortunate stereotype that art directors don’t write well and prefer pictures to words. the art director’s job is the only one where you need to be a creative person and a manager. If someone does a good job he sends out a “hero-gram” to acknowledge his or her work.” Joe Dizney says his staff knows that his door is always open. photo editors. to do it all you need help. They must be able to forge strong 102 . I ask the art director to assume almost an editor’s role in their work. how much of that message you should subsequently share. Lynn Staley. I want to let them work out their own solutions. where higher-ups have responsibility for those under them. “She treated us maturely. “One of the things I’m proudest of is that I’m not afraid to admit it when I’m clueless . Robert believes in layers of authority within the art department. she hired people who wanted to take responsibility and she allowed them to grow into art directors. “Managing the art department is really hard. He tells his staff that he cares deeply about their careers. At a magazine. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-written memo. and illustrators to make sure all the parts are compatible. I don’t know everything. . Granting Responsibility On larger staffs. Robert Newman says that what has benefited him the most in his career is to have an internal structure where he can delegate as much as possible. and with whom. My number two does some management and I encourage everyone to take full responsibility for their own work. “It sounds simple.” Dizney continues. Communication Good communication skills are essential to good management.tells his new hires that he intends to give them respect and loyalty (two oldfashioned words that we don’t hear often enough) and that he expects the same from them. “but it’s an art: how and when to respond. Pam Berry. art director and assistant managing editor at Newsweek. “Each art director ‘emcees’ all the acts that make up a layout. it is possible to have a managing art director who reports to the art director. Good people skills are essential.” Dan learned his “light” management touch from his art director at Travel & Leisure.
And every company is different.working relationships with editors as well as with colleagues and freelancers. I educated our lawyers about fine points of typography. justifying to the company how you are spending their money. “You could end up losing sleep over these things.” But even though you have granted your staff a great deal of responsibility. Managing budgets may be the art director’s toughest task. I take the office manager to lunch. branding. and CD-ROM projects.” Malcolm looks for people who are articulate and he regularly works with his staff to sharpen their interpersonal skills. I testified at an arbitration hearing about lost slides.” No one said it was easy to be an art director. a cheerleader. “but it’s one of the best-kept secrets in the world that this job can be a lot of fun. When my company was suing another company for logo infringement.” says Dan Josephs. Legal issues must be dealt with: I spent days working with lawyers to create new contracts for illustrators and photographers. Francesca Messina says that.” Wearing Many Hats Art directors must get involved with so many areas. a strategist. a psychologist. to be available to them when they need me. who approves the budget items. On several occasions I was involved in startups and had to develop budget and staffing plans as well as recommendations for office furniture and equipment. “it’s hard to free yourself up to weigh in on their work. there are different cultures. “The hardest thing to do is to find the best possible people to do the tasks that you can no longer take on even though you want to. Malcolm was very good at this. The first thing I do on a new job is to find out who cuts the checks. but it’s worth the trouble. And then there are the interpersonal skills: being a leader means being a decision maker.” 103 . which might aid them in making their case. a teacher. a diplomat. the biggest challenge is being responsible for the bottom line. And it is so important to be able to articulate your intent to designers so they are absolutely clear about your direction. Francesca Messina thinks that. it is not uncommon for the art director to be asked to be “of counsel” on the company’s Web site design. different imperatives. “In addition to hiring good people and managing the workflow. There’s no guidebook for that.
SH: So there is a distinction? JG: My formula of late. SH: What makes a good book jacket art director/designer? JG: I think what makes a good jacket designer are the same things that make a good designer in general.Publishing Headaches: Getting Everyone Onboard (Including Authors’ Wives) A Conversation with John Gall Art Director. answering e-mail. or hiding from the above. most art directors were art directors only— totally hands off—and never did any design work themselves. SH: Do you get a chance to design much anymore? JG: Most of my day is taken up with talking to editors. 104 . Good typographic sense. I don’t enjoy having to apply the heavy-handed approach (can you move this one-eighth of an inch this way? And make the sky six percent bluer?). I may have thirty minutes at the end of the day to actually sit down and design something. SH: As a designer. how do you balance both roles. production. even though it’s occasionally necessary. for what it’s like to be an art director today: art director = designer + headaches. inventive use of imagery. since books come at you from all different periods. I also think being versatile and well versed in design history and style a good thing. clarity of idea and intent. staff. or are they one and the same? John Gall: I think art directing in publishing has changed a lot over the last fifteen years. That’s the designer in me talking. avoiding lawsuits. do you have an art directorial approach that favors designers? JG: My art directorial approach tends to be as hands off as possible. Vintage/Anchor Books Steven Heller: As art director and designer for a major publishing house. freelancers. You’d get handed an illustration and a “see what you can do with this. I am not that interested in having covers that look like I did them. I like the variety. who will take a project and an understanding about the direction and then run with it. I like working with people who understand the parameters. When I started.” Things started to change as more designers began to be promoted into art directorial positions.
105 . art direction and design: John Gall. by Donald Antrim. Vintage Books. 2001.The Verificationist.
maybe a best-seller line) presented in a smaller format. And yes.” SH: Does this mean you have to follow some rigid set of guidelines? JG: My approach to design is fairly intuitive. Very clearly. hear about the issues surrounding its publication. authors. editor. not everyone is Dave Eggers. . . The whole concept is to create a less expensive version of a book for wider consumption. A lot of people have a little bit of knowledge in this area now. There are editors. you know the one about the guy with narcolepsy who likes the girl in the plaid skirt?” We have a pretty cool marketing group and I think they really respect what we do. I must enjoy the torture. we try not to force anything on anyone (unless we are running really late—which is usually). Getting a cover approved is no easy task anymore. SH: Do authors ever design their own covers? JG: With the advent of the home computer everyone can talk about layout and fonts and other design stuff. Since the authors are the ones creating the content that the entire company runs upon. and does this have an impact on how much or little you work with authors? JG: I oversee about two hundred and fifty covers a year. agents. then try to put it all to the back of my mind while I let the creative stuff happen. but my opinion has always been if an author has just spent. it’s his or her book and there’s always another cover demanding my attention. The paperback does not have the fortune of being timed to the review attention a hardcover gets. say. so the cover—we’re talking frontlist here—has to say something like “Remember me? You were waiting for me to come out in paperback? Remember? I’m the one the New York Times really liked.SH: How do you navigate the marketing departments while retaining your design integrity? JG: I work a majority of the time in the trade paperback format. Scary. a format already compromised by marketing needs. I want them all to be great. I’ve been seeing full-color printouts of covers designed by authors lately. SH: How large is your list. we may have to work with his or her demands. marketing people. After all. authors’ wives and friends . I like to read the book. and author? JG: There are frequently conflicts or differences of opinion but generally no fisticuffs. SH: Is there ever a conflict between art director. 106 . Don’t know how I end up with so many brown covers though. But I still don’t know how to deal with things like “brown covers don’t sell. each trying to take a little bite. ten years writing a book and gives us a hard time. publishers. Trade paper is closer to hardcover but with more information (quote.
Vintage Books. art direction and design: John Gall. 1997. photography: Katerine McGlynn. edited by Louis Menand. 107 .Pragmatism.
photography (heads): © The Granger Collection. by Martin Esslin. art director and design: John Gall. 2004. The New York Public Library. photography (background): The Billy Rose Theatre Collection. 108 .The Theatre of the Absurd.
one of the worst 109 . Books were slotted into three or four different formats and they were done beautifully. and rarely do they intersect. We started ditching the old formats and started pursuing more of a frontlist/backlist plan. What an editor thinks is good. I present very finished-looking comps. where does that leave the book buyer? No one will be standing next to them in the store trying to explain some half-baked idea. if they don’t understand it. SH: How do you art direct jackets and covers that represent your creative personality. then again. which must also address everyone else’s criteria. Mind-reading and decoding skills are also important in the job. I’m not sure our house has a particular style at the moment. It might even add to and enhance the editorial content of the book. I mean. all that stuff. How that gets resolved is always a bit tricky. Different groups within the publishing company will each have different answers for this question. sometimes the only point of reference will be another cover that exists somewhere. How do you convey your best ideas across to them? JG: First of all. SH: What makes a successful jacket or cover? JG: There are really two distinct schools of thought regarding a successful cover. and I may need to address why we should be looking at this problem in a different way. Over any period of time a house is bound to develop some sort of look reflective of the designers working there. A really great cover is going to convey the essence of the book in a unique and surprising way that maybe pushes the design envelope a bit. sales might not. And as designers we have different sets of criteria. surprising. A cover that is seen and respected by other designers is a good thing too. and are striking. there are just too many and varied books to fit into a “look” without becoming tired over the long haul. and also reflect the publishing house’s identity? JG: Before I arrived at Vintage. though. when discussing a cover with editors. witty. I don’t necessarily see the house style. and have a clarity of idea that is true to the book. others have told me that they do. I just hope the covers can be recognized for their intelligent solutions. I work with some very smart people—people who are smarter about publishing a book than I. One comes from the design end and the other from the publishing end. On the other hand.SH: Interaction with editors is key. The amount of frontlist titles has grown since my arrival and the need to expand the “look” of the books has grown. beautiful. weird. and very little explanation is needed. people who have also seen thousands of covers. where backlist books by each individual author would have their own look and frontlist would be more distinct and “new” looking. there was a fairly distinct house style.
I’m still trying to resolve this art versus commerce issue. we’ll have a meeting to discuss cover direction. at the start of a list. I heard people were stealing them from each other because they liked the cover so much. Luckily. I designed a jacket once for a fairly modest book of a smallish print run. I thought these were “successful” covers. Editorial will present a book and if it was already published in hardcover we’ll look at the jacket and decide whether to adapt the design into paperback. a cover that gets referred to in publishing circles as a “successful” cover. I work with people who are willing to take a chance on something different every now and again. by Charles Frazier. That seemed like some kind of success to me. SH: Can you determine whether a cover actually sells a book? JG: Whether people actually buy books because of the cover is open for debate. SH: What makes an unsuccessful book cover? JG: At Vintage. in the sense that they were amazing pieces of design.things you can say when trying to sell the design is “the AIGA will really love this one. maybe it’s this friction that keeps us pushing ahead. though I’m always checking the credit to see who’s designing the interesting one. it’s time for a new cover. I mean. It’s not like that everywhere. 110 . even I don’t. But if the book didn’t sell.” Probably the most famous book that I designed a cover for was Cold Mountain. My first experience was shocking. When the copies of the book arrived at the office. yet when I show it during a slide presentation of my work it gets a big yawn. Here were all these beautiful Knopf jackets being held up and then the negative comments would fly.
To create a working format. which is contemporary and upbeat. is to unify the look. Zurban. no matter what. The cover was also broken into boxes. VV: When did you come in? SB: I have been here eighteen months now. When Hachette bought it. The magazine had to evolve in order to survive. the layout was messy. like that of a zine. while keeping the complex editorial structure. no format. One of the things I did was manage the white space. if a popular celebrity dies. There was then. The photographs never bled. sharp and irreverent—yet the readership is quite mature. and still is. with a dense copy. So I knew how to handle incredibly tight schedules. There was no grid. and that it had to be on the newsstand every Wednesday. At the beginning. None of them understood that the magazine was a weekly. and with about twenty different levels of entry points into the text! The difficulty for me. and the editorial tone. The first thing I did was to redesign the magazine with a very structured grid. Everyone on staff was trying to improve the magazine all the time—including making haphazard layout improvements. and use the page more efficiently. So much so that it was almost impossible to publish it on a weekly basis.and sixty-five years old. What’s different is the design. The way headlines were handled was very wasteful. I had to break down the existing design and start from scratch. nothing like it in Paris. in the same vein. which is to do a Paris guide. have tried to find an audience in Paris and have failed because their focus was too broad. Paris Véronique Vienne: What makes Zurban such a unique magazine? Stéphane Bréabout: Zurban was launched four years ago. 111 . as the current art director. we don’t mention it. the typography was too fancy and complicated. We refrain from doing general news. Our approach is deliberately local. two years ago. a hundred thousand people between thirty. unless he or she is strongly identified as Parisian. for instance.The Grind and the Grid: Nothing Left to Chance A Conversation with Stéphane Bréabout Art Director. the first French reality-TV show. and coverlines. Four editors-in-chief and five art directors went through the magazine during the first year of the Hachette regime. Even the best art directors hired by Hachette were unable to make a difference. more than a thousand words per page (and the format is small). I had worked on weeklies before. We never stray from our original goal. For example. no set rules. Other magazines. the Zurban staff—about forty dysfunctional people running crazy—went into shock. inserts. as well as on television—including Love Story.
” I don’t want photographs of supermodels—even though Hachette would love it. if the cover is bland. VV: One of the graphic characteristics of Zurban is the modernity of the photographs. We don’t meet. They cannot be highly conceptual either. It saves money. his vision is more fashion-oriented. I have to find a replacement photograph. I am the one who finds a solution. someone’s daughter. VV: In what way does the Hachette brand affect your work? SB: My covers cannot be controversial in any way. SB: Yes. so I don’t have to fight an uphill battle there. Particularly for the cover. I go to photo shoots as much as possible. I always present my ideas to everyone with a tight rationale—and they challenge me not on the basis of my design. Xavier Goupy. and the subject matter dull. I get along with the editor-in-chief. We sometimes disagree about my visual choices. I tell them how to shoot. at the last minute. but I e-mail them all the layouts and cover suggestions. It’s up to me to pull out something from a stock house or from our press archive. I show ordinary people.Part of my responsibility was to sell Hachette on the changes I made. 112 . VV: Practically. Gerald de Roquemaurel. who often don’t “get” the concept of a photographic image. what specific result I want. One of the editors overlooking our magazine is the editor-inchief of ELLE. but it is also a stylistic choice. My job is to preserve Zurban’s specific visual point of view. how do you present your rationale? SB: Fortunately. With Hachette. All the usual concerns have to be dealt with: branding issues. and so on. At all times. He came to me because I know my stuff—I am a production expert—so I have a measure of authority in terms of what’s possible and what’s not. I do nothing without the prior approval of the company’s CEO. To this day. the magazine doesn’t sell. The trick is to satisfy the Zurban editor-in-chief as well as the Hachette executives. but it is the exception. of course. So. of course. So it is the perpetual back and forth between taking risks and being conservative. the specificity of the magazine is the fact that all of the images are “credible. advertising issues. We use friends or acquaintances: the photographer’s girlfriend. At the same time. my wife. I have to explain to him that if I put a gorgeous blond on the cover. And I give photographers little sketches in advance. Sometimes. The image I choose for the cover is scrutinized by Hachette editors and executives. I know who is shooting what subject. but on the basis of my rationale. what angle. and he trusts my judgment. as well as our editorial director. I lose my credibility at once. And if something goes wrong. things are a little more dicey. In every single image. distribution issues.
VV: What gives you the greatest pleasure as an art director? SB: It’s seeing people in the street. in the subway. or in restaurants. and point out emerging cultural trends. scrutinize restaurant menus. if we give even one phone number at the bottom of a page. it’s not much fun for designers. With headlines or without.VV: And in terms of graphic design. Our readers expect that of us. With my system. for consistency’s sake. Then it’s just a question of execution. I love watching my readers. with more than one hundred pages of compact editorial. what are the visual characteristics that you must preserve? SB: Even though I reorganized the grid from scratch. in France. There are a hundred thousand of them out there. it takes thirty seconds to decide which template to follow. or if they skip over pages I spend hours trying to perfect. compares with the pleasure of looking at people looking at my work. about three dozen of them. tax-wise. we make a note of it and change the template accordingly. Page layouts with or without sidebars. find the latest bistros. I made sure I kept some of the typographic quirkiness of the original format. With reversed type or not. 113 . where we bunch together all our practical information on a single “advertorial” page. four. The format. That’s why we have to send the readers to the back of the magazine. two. Admittedly. expose crooks. the entire page is rated as an ad. VV: And what are the editorial directives that preserve the personality of the magazine? SB: We are watchdogs. I watch over their shoulder to see if they notice particularly successful layouts. and we lose our editorial rate. What I have designed is a template really. I worked it all out. You name it. with the magazine. or five photographs. but it saves a lot of time. three. always ready to denounce corruption. by the way. The reality is that on a weekly. Every morning. If we notice something that could be improved. With partial or full-bleed images. I see readers checking out their copy of Zurban. With horizontal or vertical photographs. is constantly being perfected in its details. In terms of service—providing practical information—we are limited by the fact that. debunk myths. But these amusing stylistic gimmicks are integrated into a foolproof format. and it safeguards the visual integrity of the magazine. With one. No design award. make fun of self-promoters. We need a large percentage of “purely editorial” pages to keep our noncommercial status. no pat on the back from an editor. you can’t afford to experiment. on my subway commute. with a layout solution for every possible situation. Everything else pales in comparison.
you know. whatever. Spend time with printers. 114 . copy editors. our sales can be down by as much as twenty percent. and still the magazine doesn’t sell as it should. photographers. It’s liberating. Sometimes you do everything right. It comes out every week without catastrophic mistakes or horrendous deadlines. scanning technicians. But there are no fail-proof rules for covers. Eventually. We can’t be on-edge every single week. what would you tell him or her? SB: The best advice I could give a would-be art director is to learn everything about production. Don’t try to hold an art director position at the beginning of your career. it’s easier to develop an eye for the right aesthetic if you have a good understanding of the product itself. for example. You’ll be both a troubleshooter and a visuals editor. VV: Do you monitor newsstand sales on a weekly basis and react accordingly? SB: Of course. you will be able to control the production cycle and design a magazine that is a coherent and functioning entity. The magazine is not only successful. People will trust you and respect your authority. It’s what I did and it’s a strength that has served me well. Be a lowly assistant first. we try to evaluate the mistakes we make. No way. from beginning to end. You can talk to an editor or a publisher. it also functions well. If our cover topic has to do with gardens and it rains all weekend. But when we do well—when we sell close to a hundred thousand copies—we celebrate with champagne. color separators.Another source of satisfaction is the fact that my work is efficient. So we do not angst over sales figures. VV: If you had any advice to give a designer who is considering art direction as a profession. Once you understand what everyone does.
” Some art directors are indeed frustrated (or incompetent) illustrators. I cannot draw or paint. Eight out of ten times I can precisely match the right illustrator to the right project (a batting average of eight hundred would be pretty good in the MLB). But I do have a keen eye for illustration and a special flair for picking artists who have the knack it takes to do the job that makes me. And those who can’t teach. I cannot transform my clichéd ideas into new concepts. This is actually the definition of what I call a “catalytic art director. And I freely admit I could never do what they do. teach gym.” who is not particularly endowed with innate artistic prowess but has instinctive matchmaking acumen. are only as good as the illustrators they hire. ahem. Art Directors Are Frustrated Illustrators Woody Allen once told this joke: “Those who can’t do.07: How Do Art Directors Collaborate with Others? Art Directing Illustration: How to Astonish Me Steven Heller Some art directors. look good. I cannot visually translate literal ideas into abstract symbols. like me. teach. and perhaps with a little tweaking here and there (an art director is a consummate tweaker) I could up that percentage. which is not to say that art direction is like teaching 115 .
How to Astonish Me Okay. this is a family magazine.” or “avoid drawing only white men. even the finest of the breed have their off moments and require frank critiques laced with paternalistic encouragement to get moving (i. And when that initial artwork is submitted I know if it is a good fit for the article. When I look at an illustrator’s work I can size up her strengths and weaknesses almost instantly based on a combination of interview and portfolio. then I direct the illustrator to return to the drawing board (or computer nowadays).e. An art director is part therapist. the best idea (and a new idea at that) is somewhere in the reservoir waiting to be tapped. with sundry notions that might help him focus on the salient portions in the article. I respond to style. Of course. Since I believe it is counterproductive to interfere in the creative process. If it is not. it is then my responsibility to open a vein of inspiration that lies under the epidermal layers. so do something that won’t embarrass yourself!”). I perk up if there is a singular vision.e.. and every so often (depending on the acuity of the illustrator) I actually suggest a possible idea that I’d like to see carried through (at least one valiant attempt). He separates wheat from chaff (and usually keeps the former). since I have selected the right illustrators. if I have selected the right illustrator. Indeed. Which is not as easy as it sounds. or similar to other work previously done. during the time between making the assignment and seeing the sketch or final.). The odds are.” as the legendary art director Alexey Brodovitch said to his students. Sometimes I give minor direction (i. Uncle Sams.” or “no flags. what did you do. I balk when the portfolio is a Chinese menu of options. I admit not every illustrator hits it right the first time. “no breasts. I choose to meet face to face with illustrators to make a determination. but it is about stretching and building creative muscles. please. but this is rare.” but the illustration is executed blandly. or dollar signs.” etc. An art director is also a talent scout. At this audition stage I exercise total control with the power to make or not make an assignment. and part enabler. uninspiredly. I prefer that the illustrator “astonish me. But once I have committed to trusting the illustrator. I am reticent if all I see is decoration. part father confessor. But the job of an art director is to pull an essence out of the illustrator. I am curiously powerless. I am indeed happily astonished. technique. spend all of six minutes? I’m paying you real money for this. but knows exactly what one is capable of doing.gym. Most of the time. although much of the time. “This really sucks. dryly. On occasion. 116 .. I am attracted when I see conceptual thinking—ideas. He is the conduit through which good art is published. when the result is presumably “a good fit for article. and form but each must be “honest” in spirit and flawless in execution. He or she may not be able to do what an illustrator does. Since neither one is enough of an indicator. In the end I usually get the sought-after result. I stand aside.
and others have something to say. I still do not want even the chancy illustrator to submit sketches. for it 117 . I do not like looking at sketches. more direct intervention is necessary. there are two reasons why: the article was just not the right fit. everyone is happy. whatever). in the hope that going straight to finish might lessen “stage fright. however. another job of the art director is to determine who is ultimately best suited to what kind of assignment. Not all illustrators are born with the same atavistic talents (nor are all art directors). If it does not. Working with an illustrator is one on one (mano a mano). photography). Over-Art Direction Not all art directors can effectively mediate. or obscures the central point. which eight out of ten times is unnecessary. If this works out. the craft or style of a decorative or narrative illustrator is so appealing that he or she has earned a chance to work conceptually. Some illustrators prefer sketching out a few concepts to make sure the art director will be held accountable for the selection. but if they are not up to par then I ratchet up the art direction. I ask for a redo. which entails more intense collaboration in a highly stressed environment where stylists. which is not bad. When it does not. art directors who must second-guess their editors will never make honest decisions. say. But if anything is wrong (if it has one too many breasts. To get the best results. In fact. but if they get a job from me.” Often they feel more comfortable showing lots of ideas. The optimum way to art direct illustration is to have confidence that one’s own art directorial decisions have authority. A photographer provides many variations on the theme. While this is not exactly laissez faire art direction. or is clumsy. I want the illustrator to focus attention on a single idea. selecting the perfect article is the first hurdle. the artist’s equivalent of photographers’ contact sheets. or the illustrator does not have what it takes to do editorial work. and play to the illustrator’s strengths. because even one that has visual potential can be fraught with difficulty. Conversely. This is not always the norm. While I resist imposing an idea (which was historically the norm for magazine and newspaper illustration). An illustrator is more parsimonious. I encourage the illustrator to recast elements of their own conceptual and pictorial elements. because they are often in an unequal relationship with their editors (many of whom are predisposed to interfere more with illustration than. and will thus over-art direct artwork in order to please their higher-ups. their very first attempt is telling. Given my modus operandi. Being a good drawer or painter does not a priori mean they have the ability to conceptualize.Art directing illustration is nothing like art directing photography. Over-art direction is obstructionist. I prefer to see a finished piece. For this assignment. Occasionally. Sometimes the art director doesn’t trust the illustrator enough and also prefers to exercise more control. assistants. Personally. the semi-hands-off policy usually allows for the best results. I usually can weed these illustrators out from their portfolios.
While trends. Returning again to the dog metaphor. smart. and impart them as constructive suggestions. scared art directors (those who fear their editors) have a habit of chewing up illustration and illustrators. “My editor wants the illustration to look more like this or that. illustrators were at the top of the commercial-art totem pole before gradually sliding down thanks to the ascendancy of photographers and today’s reliance on Photoshop illustration. art directors often view the illustrator as either a pair of hands. carries the entire weight of a project. it is prudent to include them in the design process by showing them layouts and type treatments so that their work is not an isolated element in the larger composition. this allows the illustrator to play with alternatives. a mere adjunct to the design process. but the illustration is the critical visual and conceptual component. Fifty years ago. or at least they thoroughly understand the dynamics of graphic design. The best overall work results when these are performed in harmony. the art director must translate them into his or her voice. Art directors should not be lap dogs. reads well. like me.” should never be regurgitated back to the illustrator. The Perfect Marriage Art directors are usually designers. so can you add a figure here. some art directors. When art directing an illustrator. Rather than over-art directing. if art directed well. and styles have helped unseat the illustrator. are only as good as the illustrators they hire because they have created imagery that looks good. 118 . but even that is not a good enough excuse. the mongrel editor may destroy an otherwise fine illustration. Another art directorial responsibility is to effectively mediate between artist and editor without compromising or sacrificing the quality or integrity of the illustration. Like the dog that ate my homework. and sometimes. which must be seen as an asset. The marriage of type and image is the essence of design and the meat of art direction. startling art. which yields terrible artwork. fashions. If changes are required. Sadly. Over-art direction occurs when an art director is forced to show sketches for approval to an editor who is then unable to make constructive artistic judgments. or otherwise a vendor of ideas that can be exploited without regard for the integrity of the creator. and expresses meaning through strong. and take out this. As stated above. nonetheless this member of the creative team contributes significant value.imposes tacit roadblocks on the illustrator’s ability to solve a problem. Some of the best illustrators are also fluent in design and typography. and move that over to the corner. The common refrain. and that color should change because his wife hates blue.
and their work taught me to always consider new photographers—greatness is not a function of age or fame. I hired James Wojcek. graphic images. I learned everything about the power of lighting from the legendary Horst P. but he controlled the composition and directed the lighting. The most exciting part of being an art director is literally to be allowed to direct art.The Photo Shoot: How to Set the Stage Phyllis Cox Associate Creative Director. The resulting image is dependent on the strength of this original thought. as dramatically lighted as Horst’s impeccable compositions. the passion of my creative life. A college professor and art photographer showed me her work one day and I decided that her mystical and romantic images were something that I could use. I gave Joyce Tenneson her first editorial assignment. but there is also a process that helps the art director get from the vision to the final photograph. Whether for commercial. were very different yet just as memorable. I was hooked. Bloomingdale’s The very first time I got to hire a photographer to create an image. He was the master. These true talents were at opposite ends of the age/fame spectrum. who was then early in his career. It was these mutually respectful relationships that kept the creative work fresh. I assigned another fashion story to Steven Klein. Horst. and his photographs were stunning. and I do not use the word original lightly. His photographs. She shot a number of captivating fashion and beauty images for me and went on to great editorial and advertising success. which made me very popular with influential agents. I ended up with something whimsical and witty. Creative people are constantly confronted with the annoying and unanswerable question. What do I mean by “art”? Collaborating with photographers to create images that go beyond reporting to become their own message—photographs that are an act of pure imagination. or purely artistic purposes. the result of a vision shared by the art director and the photographer. This was going to be the love of my career. “Where do you get your ideas?” 119 . I was always especially pleased by discoveries that I made on my own. It was 1990 and he was at the end of his career when mine was just beginning. When I couldn’t get Irving Penn. editorial. Beyond getting clean. His assistant had to focus the lens for him. Over the years I used many emerging photographers before they became stars. who then would send me their best new talent. In that same time period. There is magic in great pictures. Finding great photographers to work with was the key to realizing the potential of the created photograph. every photograph starts with an idea.
3. One editor I worked with wanted to do a makeup story about new products for spring. You want excitement.Ideas Regardless of your creative resources or philosophy of creativity. the benefits of the ingredients. But when it was shot from an extreme angle featuring a foot wearing an amazing shoe and a hand with fabulous jewels placed in the prints. and other collaborators. A common problem of many unsuccessful pictures is that they are trying to tell too many stories at the same time. how to apply them—plus final beauty shots. You have done your research. “Are they good ideas?” Can they be turned into a compelling photograph? After years of analyzing ideas with editors. 4. and called on the talents of your favorite and mostrespected agents. The Photographer Choosing the right photographer for the story is critical.” but whether there is a single message in the concept. Clichés can sometimes be used to great or humorous advantage. and texture. we can all use all the help we can get. Yikes! Way too much ground to cover! When we narrowed the focus to the fresh colors emerging from their graphically portrayed flower origins and juxtaposed a beautifully made-up face. Finding the perfect fit of subject and photographer is not at all straightforward. One of my favorite pictures for a Hollywood style story used the sidewalk outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater with its handprints and footprints of the stars—an old and tired icon to say the least. Where’s the twist? Is there originality in the way that this story is going to be told? Would the crystal chandelier be more exciting if it was hung in a tree house? Could we shoot a runway story on a diving board? Unexpected locations. Is it focused? And I am not talking about “in focus. reviewed endless portfolios. Of course it helps to use a photographer who is a genius at lighting. When it comes to finding new points of view for the story. 1. but they can backfire if not handled very cleverly. in the end your ideas are just ideas and the real question becomes. unusual backgrounds. composition. clients. The obvious choices are often just that—too obvious. Is it a cliché? There is a fine line here. Simple. It is time to take the idea and put it into group therapy in the form of the creative team meeting. I have developed my own criteria for judging the merits of a visual idea. One of the most arresting images I ever commissioned was a wooden bowl shot on the crosscut of a tree. we created a dramatic and award-winning portfolio of photographs. the freshest flower-inspired colors. first we need a team captain. Is it simple? Simplicity is the most overlooked and underrated characteristic of a successful image. and probably the truest test of any art director’s skill. unlikely combinations. But. 2. it was a striking and amusing image. A photograph that conveys a feeling or a concept directly and simply is powerful. Someone who will look at your project as the creative 120 .
Sometimes I just like to be in the thick of things.” Attending the Shoot There are two schools of thought on whether the art director should show up at the shoot. When the art director. excited. Study the “personal work” of established editorial and commercial photographers—it is often more inspired and usually quite different from the work they are famous for. The focusing factor was the metallic theme. like the kind you use for paint rollers. The discussion was largely around what kind of backgrounds to use and the usual materials were mentioned. He is the leader of the team. Look for the hook that brings excitement to the table. For instance.challenge that will evoke the unexpected result. Above all. which was a gold pump immersed in a pool of gold paint in an ordinary paint pan. It is your job to clearly articulate the vision that emerges and get everyone on the same wavelength. You have to believe in the creative energy of the photographer you have chosen. Some of my favorite photos have been on the subject of fragrance—a challenging subject for a visual medium. The goal is to leave the room with each team member inspired. it is your job to provide an atmosphere of open discussion and the free flow of ideas. one of my all-time favorite shots. Sometimes the smallest thought sparks a change in direction that refocuses the entire project. It’s difficult to believe. and stylists sit down and start discussing the idea of the photographs. In reinterpreting his vision. On the other hand. The Creative Meeting There is little that is more gratifying than a really good creative meeting. The way you state the final goal can sometimes make all the difference. in choosing a photographer. photographer. and ready to carry out their part in the vision. After deciding to create and shoot a fantasy fan made of leaves and flowers. One ironic series of black-and-white photographs grew out of a personal portfolio image of an old couple whose body language was exactly duplicated by a young couple in a billboard directly behind them. I trust my gut and have confidence in my judgment. I hope that I have provided the 121 . It was not until the photographer made reference to a shot he had done that involved using pure pigment that the story took off. As art director. but one of the most memorable creative meetings was about shooting metallic leather shoes. the photographer was willing to research appropriate billboards and locations. my charge to the photographer was “I want to be able to smell this picture. which allows me to take chances. It is very important to maintain flexibility and to get input from all members of the team. choosing an art photographer will bring a different point of view to a commercial project. and I switch back and forth between them. It was stunning. And that led to one of the best pictures that came out of this shoot. amazing things can and do happen. Pigment was followed by paint. and we built our fashion story around them.
inspiration necessary during the creative meetings and subsequent detail meetings to be confident in the result. used to send his photographers off with the famous admonition “Astonish me!” It worked for him. Alexey Brodovitch. 122 . A shoot is a delicate balance of creative energy that does not thrive if there are too many chiefs. One clear creative vision produces the strongest result. To that end. one of the greatest art directors of all time. it is possibly wisest to give your team their creative freedom. Savor the surprising twists that occur on the set that take the idea to an unanticipated place.
” It has a job to do: to complement the written piece and entice the reader to spend more time with it. I had no art training. I decided that what I really wanted to do was become a magazine picture editor. now and then. At the New Yorker. the studio functioned as both a production shop and a stock house. I found a position at a small photo agency as a “girl Friday. for instance. how do you work with the art director? EB: In all the magazines where I worked—Penthouse. I knew that I had to find a job at a good magazine. my English wasn’t that good.Common Vision: The Role of the Picture Editor A Conversation with Elisabeth Biondi Visuals Editor. Vanity Fair. but I needed a job. as you do? EB: At publications like the New York Times. Unfortunately. as colleagues. on its own. But in the majority of magazines. Yet I insist on preserving the integrity of a picture. Geo. 123 . I am well aware that a photograph in a magazine isn’t just “art. But the best magazines give their picture editors a position of authority. for instance. I consider that my job is to produce the kind of pictures that makes the art director’s work easier—and more exciting. VV: As picture editor. and the New Yorker—the art director would assign the illustrations while I assigned the photography. Playboy’s competitor. I make sure that it functions as an image. I was ready for it.” as entrylevel secretaries were called back then. With half a dozen staff photographers. I discuss with the art director whether we should have an illustration or a photograph—some stories clearly call for one or the other. during which I got involved with a little bit of everything. someone without editorial experience. the New Yorker Véronique Vienne: How did you become a picture editor? Elisabeth Biondi: When I came to New York from Germany years ago. I heard that Penthouse magazine. Penthouse is where I learned the trade—whatever the trade was! All along. One day. It isn’t a flat piece of visual that can be cropped arbitrarily. At the same time. the picture editor does not function the way I was trained (or trained myself) to function. VV: Do most picture editors function as independent visuals editor. I held a job there for about six or seven years. Stern. Sharing a common vision is the only way to work productively. picture editors have their independent voice. while others can be either-or. Of course we work together. you run into picture editors who are limited to producing photo shoots or doing picture research. and no professional experience. Even though we are independent of each other. When at long last there was an opening at Geo magazine. was looking for a picture editor and that they were willing to take someone like me. Eventually.
S. I felt more American than German. VV: You said that you learned “the trade” at Penthouse. I am the bridge between the artist and the editorial intent of the magazine. Rightfully so. He actually was a photographer. I learned to respect the integrity of a photograph. In Germany. I have to be able to verbalize what the magazine is all about and find the right match between a photographer’s sensibility and that of the editor-in-chief. I learned early on that I have to be able to explain to editors why a picture is appropriate or not for the article. its U. respecting these principles is the only way to create images that have a meaning. What did you learn at Geo? EB: At Geo. There. editors expect me to know my stuff—and I do. somewhat surreal images. I not only learned how to treat a photograph. though my aesthetic was probably European. I liked dark. I quickly realized that I had to put that behind me. It is not so much my aesthetics that’s critical in that relationship. As far as I am concerned. He followed the basic rules of Magum. and taught me to do the same. I have read everything. So is my brain. what is the main difference between a European and an American magazine? EB: There is a great difference in terms of what you can show. was independent. There. VV: Was the fact that Geo was originally a European magazine a factor in the way photography was handled there? EB: Even though Geo was first published in Germany. I have to speak for the magazine in my own voice. edition. it’s very direct. In your experience.VV: How would you describe your relationship with the editor-in-chief? EB: As a picture editor. you can print almost everything and anything. The person who was responsible for the visual part—the creative director in other words— was called the executive editor. I come prepared to editorial meetings. researched the topic if need be. and made sure that I know all there is to know about the subject matter we are about to discuss. who has the overall responsibility for the publication. where I worked. My tool is my mouth. My training was American. I also learned how to assign it and discuss the editing with the photographer afterward. but my ability to translate the magazine’s point of view to others—editors and photographers. Even though my job is to reflect the editor’s vision. At the beginning of my career. To do a successful magazine in America. We published 124 . you cannot publish too many dark and obscure images! VV: You came to the New Yorker after working at the weekly Stern in Germany for a couple of years.
making sure the articles worked as images as well as stories. We start with what the story is all about. I want to make sure they understand the visual parameters. I try to give the photographers—whether they are photojournalists or portrait photographers—a visual parameter in which they can work. No one.” VV: Finally. energy. It’s a very fine line that differentiates a New Yorker photograph from a Vanity Fair picture or a New York Times picture. The New Yorker is more formatted. It is a writer’s magazine. And I usually add. At Vanity Fair. At Vanity Fair. for example. and the direction the article is taking. as I agree. but also shoot a more traditional picture so that we have a choice. VV: What kinds of things do you tell photographers. If she felt that a picture was hot. She deliberately used visuals to entice her readers. more traditional in its layout. “Work in the classical mode—but with a twist. who is British.” in all its cruelty—something no mainstream editor would do in America. for example. she would generate the text to go with it.” I tell them that I am looking for images that are both sophisticated and quite smart. And some things are set forever. VV: What’s the most challenging thing you do here at the New Yorker? EB: Convey to the photographer what sort of pictures I want. would ever think of putting a photograph on the cover. a story doesn’t get scheduled because of an illustration or a photograph. always challenged. She knew how to edit the magazine visually. Naked girls. I am never bored. 125 . for example? EB: I say. please do it. Here. yet always based on the editorial content.pictures of beheadings. surprise—playing photographs against each other rather than striving for a perfectly smooth mix of images. “If you are going to do something daring. You can recognize a New Yorker photograph. Aesthetically. Tina Brown. what’s the most pleasurable part of your work? EB: I would have to say reading articles and then figuring out what sort of photograph would be best for them. expressed a more European sensibility. but it is not defined by obvious standards. The intent was to show the world “as it is. she liked contrasts.
just be creative” only to look at the result and remark. “We love what you do . “Oh .How to Talk to an Illustrator: Tips from Two Pros Vicki Morgan and Gail Gaynin Communicate clearly . Tip: Responsible teamwork prevents costly mistakes. The illustrator is not a mind reader. . If necessary. give him or her the opportunity to be considered for the job. .. 126 . If you see something going awry. restrictions. it would be counter-productive to make a comparison or reference to other artists’ works. . Both you and your artist must know the job’s pertinent information in order to make appropriate creative choices. Communicate why you chose your illustrator. Communicate the marketing or editorial directives. i. and deadlines so that you can convey the same objectives and information to your illustrator. a conceptual approach. Communicate your visual needs to your group. that’s not quite what I had in mind!”? Tip: Never relinquish responsibility with the comment. Let the artist know the specific samples to which you responded for this particular assignment. . “I’ll know it when I see it. It’s that basic. . Tip: First define “what you need” for yourself so you can explain it in plain English. Be clear about your product’s specific positioning. Communicate what is in your mind’s eye. If the creative team has agreed that illustration is the best solution. Tip: If a particular artist inspired you. speak up immediately. Be confident about your decision so that you can champion your choice to colleagues and clients. Tip: An idea is of no use if it is off the mark.e. etc.” Communication is necessary in collaboration. a narrative one. Insufficient input does not get creativity flowing. Tip: Your acknowledgement of the illustrator’s talent and intelligence will go a long way toward making the entire project pleasant. It is so appreciated when you tell an illustrator that you are looking forward to working together and welcome his or her creative involvement. Then do your research to find a suitable collaborator. Are you one who has said. Say what you need and you will have the best chance of getting what you want. write it down. identify your visual needs. a humorous treatment. Unless the assignment calls for recreating art from a historical period. too much can stifle it. .
format of sketch. Your communication means a lot to them . Tip: Thank the illustrator for making you look good. Agree to due dates. Communicate your appreciation. Tip: Have a written confirmation. terms and uses. “Thanks. honestly discuss your time considerations and arrive at a viable plan. changes. Tip: Upon receipt of the artist’s work.Communicate respectfully. work requirements. keep the artist informed. payment schedules. make sure you are in accord on all contractual issues. If you are discussing fees and terms. Most illustrators are working alone and without much feedback while creating the sketch and finish stages. Communicate with the rep. expense reimbursement. respond by saying. finishes. be sure you have the authority to do so. 127 . if the artist has chosen to have an agent as part of his or her business structure. . Tip: A good agent will be your ally. I’ll show the rest of the team and get back to you by (a specific day). . contact information. It is important that you do not compromise an agreed-upon schedule by taking longer than necessary to respond to sketches. and expeditor.” If meeting schedules are delayed. Circumventing the representative is unprofessional. and approvals. And also be sure that contracts do not contradict your verbal agreements. Communicate all business aspects thoroughly. Assume your illustrator is a pro and can handle art direction and commitments responsibly. final art submissions. As you both have busy schedules. a useful liaison. etc. Before work starts. especially the call at the end when you tell them that you were happy with their work.
The Ideal Client: Letting Others Do Their Job A Conversation with Louise Fili and Chip Fleischer Designer, Louise Fili Ltd., and Publisher, Steerforth Press
Steven Heller: Louise, what is the ideal publishing client? Louise Fili: One who will do his or her job and let me do mine. SH: Chip, what is the ideal publishing art director? Chip Fleischer: First and foremost, someone who is talented, capable, and
knowledgeable, whose work will reflect favorably upon and add value to the books we publish. But also, especially for Steerforth’s list, which is very general in its subject matter and tries to strike a balance between literary quality and commercial viability, someone who has a broad range and is flexible. And finally, someone who is comfortable with the idea that while each person involved in the publishing process has his or her own area of expertise, everyone, from the author to the publisher, editor, sales reps and publicists, needs to be listened to, and that more often than not the end result will represent a series of compromises.
In books marketing issues enter into the jacket and cover design SH: Louise, how have these factors helped or hindered your work? LF: The higher the expectations for the book, the more the marketing
people tend to intervene. I am open to suggestions, but what I always need to emphasize to every client is: Tell me what is not working for you, and let us decide how to remedy it.
SH: Chip, how have these factors dictated how you work with your art director? CF: More and more I have asked that our art director be open to feedback
from sales and marketing professionals and do revisions as part of an evolving process. At the same time, I have found that the best approach is to convey what the s&m [sales and marketing] folks see as a problem or what feel or effect they’d like to try to achieve and let the art director propose possible solutions.
Taste is subjective, and a lot of design is about the taste of the designer
Rolling the Bones, by Kyle Jarrard; art director: Louise Fili; designer: Louise Fili; illustrator: Bill Nelson; Steerforth Press, 2001.
Turn, Magic Wheel, by Dawn Powell; Art director: Louise Fili; illustrator/designer: Richard McGuire; Steerforth Press, 2005.
Steerforth Italia; art director: Louise Fili; designer: Louise Fili; artists: various; Steerforth Press; 2000–2004.
SH: Louise, how do you balance your preferences with the needs of your publisher? LF: I try to put my preferences aside and address what is really appropriate
for the book. As Steerforth has such an eclectic list—from true crime to sophisticated fiction—it is imperative that each cover be designed to represent its contents.
SH: Chip, how do you allow for your designer’s tastes to meld with your publishing requisites? CF: By allowing the art director a free hand to take the lead as much as
possible, so her tastes and original ideas can then establish the framework for the ongoing discussion about a certain project.
Everyone has a different view of what makes a successful book jacket or cover SH: Louise, what is your favorite Steerforth piece, and why? LF: I think it was Whitman’s Wild Children. Instead of setting all the names
in type, which would have made for a predictable (yawn) cover, I hand-lettered all of the text on blotter paper, giving it much more tactile appeal. Steerforth had the vision to accept (and appreciate) the direction.
SH: Chip, what is your favorite, and did it work as you hoped to “sell” the book? CF: It’s impossible to single out a true “favorite.” Some of the most
aesthetically beautiful jackets were not helpful to sales, and some of the less
132 . original. The book didn’t sell all that well in hardcover or paperback.” She faxed a hand drawn rendition. SH: Chip. and very. SH: Louise. but it sold okay and was a positive experience for everyone. Also. it was the first time I experienced our art director saying “I know exactly what I want to do.beautiful reflected a book’s content and tone so well that they helped to reach the target audience and clinch the deal. and the experience gave me something very important: the confidence to believe in her vision even when I have trouble seeing what the end result will look and feel like. are there any standards or rules that you impose on your art director? CF: No hard and fast rules. More than any other single title. But I have found it important to set clear parameters going into a project—from budget constraints to any strong feelings about the direction in which I’d like her to think about going. which did not begin to do the finished product justice. very memorable. people seem to associate that book with Steerforth. Simple as it was. are there any standards or rules that you impose on your publisher? LF: Only that we have a conversation at the outset that clearly defines the book. But to answer this question I think I’d single out the cover for the slim novel HERO. What I liked most about the cover design is that it was inspired. But the end result was terrific. I think it was a design that made people stop and drew them in. and in describing it they always remember what the cover design looked like.
” Be the first to say “She’s soooo phhhf!” Anyone young and cute is always correct. There are things you’ll need to know before you can just show up. Abbreviate clichés to keep them fresh. Fifteen years and a hundred mini-bars later. wood? It’s am-az-ing . 133 . you should comment loudly that you love them. You’ll go to exciting places and stay in fancy rooms. then quickly suggest that the pants should be in the picture.” “Did you see that fabulous door made of . here is my best advice. toddlers sunbathing in exotic locales. or you can see the clips holding back a model’s shirt. Always love big or old doors. Just minutes ago you were pasting the posters you designed for your friend’s band into your portfolio. snotty supermodels on hot rooftops. you’ll feel grateful just to go along and be quite humbled by all the work that goes into creating a picture of a guy in a white shirt standing next to a tree. like a Vuitton bag or an overweight stylist. Now you’ve interviewed your way to a junior art director position at a company where you actually want the employee discount. Let’s get you a little gumption—it’s the only way you’ll be invited back. I’ve worked with and for some famous designers and photographers. or when some item from the real world accidentally doesn’t get removed from the set. Also note: the title of whatever CD the model is listening to should be entered into your Palm Pilot to be purchased later and expensed—and remember to give more weight to whatever the models say—i. . “We should just run that!” Yell this immediately when a prop falls. repeat everything they just said to a group of people—because. I should know. I rose through the photoshoot ranks from dinner reject to the creative director that snags the duplex.. You have to move on this one. I started out as you. . “It looks fabulous!” becomes “Fabulous!” becomes “Fab!” becomes “Phhhf. If a model comes to the set and he’s wearing a cut-up Hefty bag for pants. But get wise. Speak up: “I love that old door—it’s too bad we couldn’t shoot against that. You work in the fabulous world of fashion. At first. I’ve shot countless flip-flops on endless beaches. and golden retrievers wearing ties. well. then be the first to have the new tailor create a pair for you to wear to the second shoot day. junior. Give them things. .” When something unexpected happens. because everyone’s watching the models at breakfast. they’re just soooo cute. try to be the first one to say.How to Be Hip: Surviving a Fashion Shoot Scott Hawley You’re so hip. .e.
An attempt to add a little humanity to a chilly brand. Models = People. 134 .
Be careful of exaggerating bug/pubic hair stories—they don’t have the punch they used to have. Make sure you have a list of other people’s room numbers so you can get on the phone right away and join the bitch-chain. Navy sailed down the Hudson for Fleet Week. “I’m not eating that. the U. Giselle—she’s sooo phhhf!” 135 .” or. “How far are we from a McDonald’s/Starbuck’s?” Ha! Hate your room. embellish the cost of the best room by at least 50 percent for dramatic bonus. Tell the caterer how good everything looks. then when you get back to your table. even remotely cute assistant should be in the picture—your reasoning should be that.S. love your cargo pants! You should be in this picture!” Or.’” Hate the catering. “Bob. They’ll have already called other rooms and this way you can gang up and get word back to your office on who has the best room. Suggest that anyone with a higher title than yours should be one of the talent. You should rotate a list of who is going to “walk out of the hotel” or who “moved rooms three times” so one person doesn’t carry the burden of forcing the expensive upgrade. Also. “They’re as cute as the models but somehow more ‘real. Try to be the one that suggests that any young. “Why don’t we use Bob’s poodle.Polo Jeans Flag: While we were shooting against this flag on a NYC rooftop. “What is that?” or. Just assume that someone on the call sheet has a better room with a better view and start complaining as soon as your bags are dropped. act disgusted and say something in a pretend whisper like.
you can hold out for the coolest combination of people that will be dining at the coolest place. who you should feel free to make fun of openly. thinking that there’s a chance you can score for them. Second. an “exotic person” is anyone with an accent—not including Canada—or with questionable ethnicity. if you see a model in a prestige ad ala Versace. then your vagueness will also confirm to the people less cool than you that don’t get invited that you are indeed cooler. they’re more inclined to invite you to dinner. If you hold out but then don’t get invited anywhere. even if it’s not something you do.Be vague about dinner. Remember to love or hate everything and especially everyone. First. Be the first to ask an “exotic person” where they’re from. which will be understood by anyone who matters. At the very least. when you’re eating Rice Krispie Treats from your mini-bar and phoning everyone to ask if they’ve checked out the gym. It’s not only acceptable but encouraged to label all things/people with a loud. which you should embellish accordingly. There’s a moment around 3:45 PM when you won’t be able to down another diet Coke or manipulate a PA into leaving the set to 136 . One important note here: do not wander after 8 PM if this is your plan. Get the fuck out of there. The winner gets to “own” the exotic person for the remainder of the shoot. if everyone thinks you have a substance problem. if this happens. By definition. just ask.. even within their earshot. Play the geography game: you’ll be competing with the others to see who has either lived or vacationed closest to the foreign hometown of the exotic person. because you might get caught wandering around with a handful of Snackwells by the tailor or a camera assistant. it gives you a mystique to exploit. one-word declaration. the production assistants (PAs) will pay attention to you and treat you well. “Love.e. “Who are you talking about?” and when they tell you. then you can stay in your room and make up your own story of elitist outrageousness. Mention getting stoned. i. Note: It’s the responsibility of the winner to repeat his winning story every time he overhears someone ask the exotic person where they’re from. and this would be disastrous. just hold up the magazine to everyone and say. Besides. which you can use later in your room. This is multipurposeful. just roll your eyes and say. This ties into which group you’ll want to dine with (see above) but does not include the tailor/PAs/camera assistants. “Hate!” These declarations save you some much needed time. Gray area is for common folk.” or if you overhear someone discussing a star of a movie that’s not making any money. but reserve your judgment until you hear everyone else’s opinion.
Turn to someone freelance and comment. and it makes them feel bad.bring you back a $6 jumbo latte. painful shot. This is the time you should choose someone to hate.” It’s funny. 137 . It’s very cool to be “over” everything. Tell a cohort about how you just made fun of someone to his face and kill another ten minutes. including the people you’re with and the actual shoot you’re on. at least we’re not in the office— oh yeah. you don’t have an office. It will help to pass the time dishing on them until the last. “Hey.
which. was from the late 1950s through the 1970s known for reprising passé decorative conceits because in the context of the times it was a purposeful and strategic alternative to the purist Swiss Style that evolved into drab corporate modernism. Likewise. But is there anything fundamentally wrong with being a decorator? While Architect Adolf Loos (1870–1933) proclaimed ornament is sin in his essay “Ornament and Crime. which had rejected decoration 139 . Push Pin Studios. yes. for example.” attacking late-nineteenth-century art nouveau. was nonetheless a revolutionary graphic language used as a code for a revolutionary generation—which is the exact same role art nouveau played seventy years earlier.08: Is There an Art to Art Direction? Aesthetics as Content: The Curse of the D Word Steven Heller Do you make things look nice regardless of content? Do you spend more time worrying about aesthetics than meaning? Do you fiddle with style and ignore substance? If the answers are yes. psychedelia’s immediate predecessor. and yes. with its vituperative rejection of antiquated nineteenth-century academic verities. Take. then you are a decorator. while smothered in flamboyant ornamentation (indeed much of it borrowed from Loos’s dread art nouveau). the psychedelic style of the late 1960s. in truth decoration and ornamentation are no more sinful than austerity is virtuous.
A designer who decorates yet does not know how to effectively control. separately each bill lacks the same visual pizzazz of the euro.S. dollar. Ziggurat or sunburst designs on the façade of a building or the cover of a brochure spark a responsive chord even when type is absent. and even graphic design rarely added to a product’s functionality or durability. It is not merely wallpaper (and what’s wrong with beautiful wallpaper. but serves to stimulate the senses. While decoration is frequently applied to conceal faulty merchandise and flawed concepts. Moreover. Of course. modulate. decoration also plays an integral role in the total design scheme. Anti-decorative ideological fervor to the contrary. is much more appealing than the staid U. And so it may be. One should never underestimate the power of decoration to stimulate the user of design. pattern. if one is clutching a score of $100 bills in two hands. furniture. with its colorful palette and pictorial vibrancy. A decorator does not simply move elements mindlessly around to achieve some kind of intangible or intuitive goal. line. These critics argued that art nouveau (or later art deco or postmodern) decoration on buildings. which ultimately prepares the audience to receive the message.(and eclectic quirkiness) in favor of bland Helvetica. However. herringbone. However. or create ornamental elements is doomed to produce turgid work. when in fact they were being duped through illusionary conceits. anyway?). or tartan patterns are purely decorative yet nonetheless elicit certain visceral responses. Good decoration is that which enhances or frames a product or message. picture) that does not overtly tell a story or convey a literal message. visual pizzazz is irrelevant. content and meaning were not sacrificed but rather illuminated and made more appealing. letter. The worst decorative excesses are not the obsessively baroque borders and patterns that are born of an eclectic vision (like the vines and tendrils that strangulated the typical art 140 . the euro is an indubitably more stimulating object of design because it is a decorative tour de force with a distinct function. decoration is not inherently good or bad. Decorative and ornamental design elements are backdrops yet possess the power to draw attention. Decoration was therefore the tool of obsolescence. for example.and early-twentieth-century design progressives argued that excessive ornament existed solely to deceive the public into believing they were getting more value for their money. Loos and likeminded latenineteenth. Today’s euro paper currency. Decoration can be defined as a marriage of forms (color. but rather to optimize materials at hand and tap into an aesthetic allure in order to instill a certain kind of pleasure. Paisley. and also locked the respective objects in a vault of time that eventually rendered everything obsolete. but putting the respective face values of the currencies aside. it nonetheless also enhances a product when used with integrity and taste. It takes as much acuity and sophistication to be a decorator as it does a typographer (although the two are not mutually exclusive). While the greenback is comprised of ornate rococo engravings.
Consumer culture is replete with such inconsequential things that when added up contribute to giving decoration its bad name. enlarged close-ups of common textures (grooves of a vinyl record. Conversely. It simply reprises a warmed-over (in this case nineties) design fashion used primarily to fill space and nothing else. a typical take-out coffee cup with its pastel. As the cover of the broadsheet newspaper advertising supplement for the New York Times. This is not prosaic decoration but visually challenging and hypnotically engaging. it appears on the first page at an extremely huge yet recognizable size.nouveau poster or page) but the ignorant application of dysfunctional doodads that are total anachronisms. and thus grabbing its attention. may cost a little more to produce but have quantifiable impact on consumers with discerning tastes who buy them (and sometimes keep the boxes after the product is used up). airbrushed. which is now a symbol of education itself. the more identifiable they become— and the more captivating. Knowledge Network. The design concept relies entirely on various large decorative patterns and the designer has deftly filled other poster-sized pages with tight. While none of it is really sinful. Some of the best decorators are great designers because they are actually exemplary decorators. generic postmodern styling represents the silliest kind of knee-jerk ornamentation. And yet to be a practitioner of this kind of design does not a priori relegate one to inferior status branded with a scarlet letter D. For example. There are many different kinds and degrees of decoration and ornamentation. neither pleasant to look at nor meaningful to contemplate. the patterns are totally abstract and decidedly intriguing. 141 . And speaking of savoring and saving. including the current crop of boutique teas. much of it is trivial. soaps. surfaces of pigmented football. A splendidly ornamented package. reprising a nineteenth-century design. and of course the marbleized notebook cover) as a way of piquing the audience’s curiosity. From a distance. trimmed pages of a book. and food wrappers. one of the most iconic of all twentieth-century ornaments is the ubiquitous black-and-white marble notebook cover. the closer they are. the conventional coffee-shop paper cups with the faux Greek friezes printed in blue and white have more innate graphic interest than this superficial throwaway. strands of undulating pasta.
Factoring in auditory clues to get a better read of the big picture is not such a far-fetched idea. director of corporate research at Young & Rubicam defines as “a set of differentiating promises that link a product to its customers. pore over the layouts . For members of the editorial team. There is always an eerie silence around stacks of great magazines. they are an integral part of the editorial message.” In other words. They labor unremittingly to make sure that the magazine is as exciting as its thump. A magazine is first and foremost a “vibe”—a “brand” in marketing parlance—what Stuart Agres. most of us forget to breathe. weight. I 142 . texture. Some time ago. Most people (myself included) go to newsstands to get an image fix. This sound has come to symbolize the readers’ relationship with the publication. To design it. size. personality. it is the sum total of its tone. A magazine is indeed a sound—a resonance in the mind of readers. make a fresh cup of coffee and flip pages. I tried to find out what it would take to extract the pure essence of a magazine and turn it into something almost as volatile as its vibe. Even those politically incorrect scent strips inserted in trendy magazines must be taken into account. the better the layouts. but also thickness. Graphic design is only one aspect of the craft. this magical sound is their moment of truth. Engrossed in contemplation. the magazine falls through the mail chute and hits the floor with a characteristic thump. . usually followed by the crisp ruffle of a page being turned. You should be able to evaluate its design with your ears. Delivered every Tuesday at a specific time of the day. Everything matters: sound. a state halfway between heightened awareness and suspended animation. Some readers interpret this sound as a sign that it’s time to take a break. . We peruse titles in a slight trance. and gossip. and point of view. a magazine is a figment of the imagination of readers as much as a mental construct engineered by editors and art directors. A number of subscribers have the magazine delivered to their office rather than to their home. Others get on the phone to call their neighbors to invite them to come by. For better or for worse. A shared fantasy. so addicted are they to this weekly knock on their door. The more quiet the room. A European publisher once told me that his company regularly surveys subscribers to find out how they feel when they hear the mailman drop the magazine on their front door.Sense and Sensibility: Art Directing a “Vibe” Véronique Vienne We don’t seem to design magazines for readers anymore but for editorial voyeurs—for page-flippers in search of visual stimulation. listen carefully. you need to be as much of a musician as a visual communicator. All one hears are isolated sighs. To measure the visual appeal of a magazine.
Only then did we snap out of it. this transparent screen was partially lifted to reveal a mouth-watering combination of plum and musk. and perfumers and decided to proceed as if the magazine was any other client. no more. and of course a perfume. and circulation figures. but no thanks. Someone on the team suggested we insert scent strips in the magazine to test the fragrance with readers. a bottle. bottle designers. The scent we designed was cool at first. Thanks. The real surprise was how much the fragrance resembled the chic publication. we drew a profile of who the typical reader wanted to be. It had to happen. We are not marketers—we are only journalists. 143 . and freshly mown lawn rising through a discreet veil of lemony magnolia. a package. trend-forecasters. rose. Orchestrating olfactory notes (taking into account their power of evocation as well as their evaporation rate) was not unlike mapping out the visual impact of successive layouts.managed to convince the editor of a fashion magazine to let me do a story on how her slick publication could be translated into a woman’s fragrance. This information was used to create a brand positioning. This last phase was much the same as designing a magazine. After a few minutes of evaporation. with notes of bergamot. We put together a team of brand experts. demographics. We believe that what readers deserve is a great magazine—no less. Studying back issues.
yet his style is always apparent. while all non-members rejected it as yet another blow to the downfall of civilization (the perfect calculus for rebellious youth). any stylistic manifestation is the magazine’s identity (and belongs first and foremost to that publication). Conversely.” Often these signatures are customized for the respective publications. All good art directors have a style. Herb Lubalin. yet Fred Woodward’s art direction never commandeered the editorial content. He has altered basic formats to reflect specific editorial needs of each publication. the venerable Rolling Stone. art director for Texas Monthly. Today Roger Black routinely uses Egyptian slab serif typefaces for virtually everything he designs. The list is long: Alexey Brodovitch’s hand was discernable on Harper’s Bazaar and Portfolio. which makes his formats for a slew of different publications unmistakably similar. Bodoni. owing in part to the repeated use of his favorite typeface. Fred Woodward. was highly admired for consistently beautiful presentation.The Signature Style: Pros and Cons Steven Heller Should an editorial art director impose a personal style on a publication? Ideally. invented illustrative typography sometimes referred to as “smashed letters” that became his exclusive trademark in both magazines. RayGun was hugely successful in creating a visual language that its audience embraced. It is not always clear what is more beneficial for a publication: the ostentatious ego. Some art directors are deliberately hired to inject their unique “looks. In large part owing to its flamboyant and progressive digital design aesthetic. Likewise. Rolling Stone. rather it was the visual content—as well as the brand—of the magazine. the result will complement the editorial. Balance was achieved through respect for 144 . the result is so overt that it defines the entire publication. method. if the art director has a subtle or low-key personality. Some are more recognizable than others—while fewer are more original. art director of Eros and Avant Garde. and the synergy between design and editorial gave RayGun a cutting-edge allure. which. If the art director has an imposing graphic personality. Carson became well known for his art directorial escapades (like setting an entire article in dingbats rather than a readable typeface or enlarging the size of page numbers to one quarter of the entire page) above and beyond the targeted RayGun audience. in turn. as did David Carson in the nineties alternative rock magazine RayGun. or manner. or somewhere in between? The answer varies depending on editorial prerogatives. Carson’s expressive (at times chaotic) design was not a mere frame for articles. always applies intricate conceptual type treatments to feature pages in his respective magazines. Moreover. other times they are template solutions for all design problems. brought media attention to the magazine. Yet certain art directors put their own signatures on every publication they touch. or shrinking violet. and GQ. Its closest competitor.
and with new designers who never quite injected the same specialness into the magazine. banks. other “regional” magazines so brazenly mimicked New York that it began to lose its distinctive personality—one is in trouble when the caricatures become more recognizable than the caricatured— and a new format—indeed a new persona—had to be found. Some art directors establish personalities by customizing typefaces. Strong personalities are only encouraged or tolerated as long as it suits a particular editor’s mission. at some point. if the special design qualities are successful. In the end. But after a few years. as long as this is accomplished. The lavish type openers for each feature story never conflicted with the main point of the magazine—to convey information in an entertaining and accessible manner. but the usual position is on the third or fourth tier). was a perfect frame for the keen conceptual illustration and photography that graced its columns and feature pages. clean. Flamboyant it was not.” implying that when limited to one family of typefaces and a rigid grid any designer could adhere to a system. after Milton Glaser and Walter Bernard designed the original New York magazine. generous number of blurbs. A domineering art director will. But just think what magazines would be like if there were no distinct personalities to push those limitations. and few art directors ever rise to the top of a masthead (second is about as lofty as one goes. one art director cannot always slip into another art director’s skin.the word and reliance on strong photography. At the same time. developing stables of artists. But all too frequently. most magazines are driven by words and ideas. but it must be applied wisely. and ample white space. but smart. Some art directors are incapable of shedding principles rooted in aesthetic or ideological beliefs. So should an editorial art director impose a personal style on a publication? Yes. and distinctive it was—replete with personality. and otherwise carving a niche for themselves and their magazines. and quotes. The personality can be the art director’s greatest tool. which includes distinguishing his or her magazine from the competition. The format. Herb Lubalin was the only one who could actually design like Herb Lubalin. be pitted against a strong editor. The Swiss used to say design was “universal. All others were clearly imitators. designers. but the former overwhelmed while the latter increased readability. and adapt. and photographers. An art director who offers a viable alternative is held in great esteem. so for magazines that demand consistency or retain a brand presence neutral design is imperative. Art directorial personalities can be dubious achievements because they are not always transferable. This was the case in the late sixties. steal. copycats will eventually borrow. In both these magazines art directors imposed strong personalities. its overall mass was unique. with its Egyptian headlines. 145 . Although it borrowed a tad of its conceptual acuity from the older Esquire (another magazine with personality). Others readily take from the existing toolboxes. Others are chameleons adapting to any publishing environment.
yet you still make collages out of them. No Commerce A Conversation with Benjamin Savignac Art Director. and only on the opening spread! But I still use the collage technique for commercial assignments. VV: Do you art direct photographs? BS: I never go to a photo shoot if that’s what you mean. and I build on top of it in an organic way. At the time I had very little training in graphic design. I had the opportunity to design the first issue of a new hip-hop music magazine called Real. Beforehand. I talk with the photographers about ideas that relate to the main theme of the magazine and I help coordinate the shoot with a team 146 . complete with its own system of graphic codes. VV: You only did one issue of Real. and where I dabbled in photography. Paris Véronique Vienne: How did you become an art director? Benjamin Savignac: Right out of art school. BS: Yes. I figured I would “set the scene” for the musicians. I was able to give the magazine a very unique look. and patterns. Today you are using a similar approach with DEdiCate. But I worked them over to create collages that incorporated line drawings. and for my personal work. There was no budget. with DEdiCate you get to assign photographs. If I had to describe my approach in any way. even though I didn’t assign the photographs.How to Be Your Own Client: All Art. photography. and blotches of color against each other. This challenge forced me to develop my own artistic sense. I am not saying that I am an artist! I don’t even know what being an “artist” actually means. where I studied drawing. decoupages. splashes of color. I used to think that you had to start with a typographic exercise and use visuals to illustrate the words. But I do the opposite: I start with the image. I still like to combine elegant and refined images with more awkward and raw design elements. But it helped you find your “signature” style. squiggles. layering graphic touches one at a time. drawings. so I had to use existing publicity shots of the different artists. VV: Now. whether it’s a photograph or a drawing. the underground fashion magazine you created three years ago with a handful of friends. BS: Not as much. so rather than focus on layout and typography. DEdiCate Magazine. That’s none of my business. So. My work pits type. serigraphy. I’d say it was more like being a painter and using photographs as I would a canvas.
VV: Do you have a bigger budget? BS: No. That said. we don’t even attempt to respect the brand image of the products we happen to feature. You are getting a much wider distribution in bookstores and newsstands all over France. But money and creativity make strange bedfellows. No one to suggest I make it less red. The magazine is a portfolio piece for everyone. I think that the future is all about this mix. we still don’t have money. Right now. even artists who say that they are not trying to make a profit. Eventually. You cannot prevent the world from getting all jumbled up. I cannot explain why. the rental houses. There is no rigidity or coolness. Money hinders everyone. I would hate for them to try to secondguess me. stylists. or larger. or whatever. but also the production companies that do retouching and color work as well as the photo studios. introspection. repressed feelings—and Iceland. The next issue is about “extraverted space”—we have an article on expressing neurosis and frustrations—while the country we chose is Brazil. I don’t want my opinion to hinder their creativity. It’s all very intuitive and it seems to work. on this bartering system. with Björk on the cover. The last one. But after that. Everyone works for free. the circulation of the magazine is going up. and the printers.that often includes a fashion stylist. 147 . BS: Our editorial mandate is to do the things we like while at the same time search for high-quality images and great writing. Not only are we not trying to sell anything. No one is there to tell us what to do. VV: Somehow. of course. I wish I could pay people. hair and makeup artists. That’s what is contemporary about the editorial approach. No egos to manage. The “mixitude” of it all. there are no more boundaries between things that do not belong together. The fact that it is deliberately noncommercial is what makes it different from other avant-garde fashion magazines that have great graphics but are product oriented. with real capital behind it. designers. I let them shoot as if they were their own client. This “mélange” works for me. All of it against free advertising. models. Photographers. we all have the opportunity to create the universe we want. I give the photographers 100 percent control. Each issue of DEdiCate has an overall theme and focuses on a specific country. I would like the magazine to become established as a regular business. What I like about DEdiCate is this melting pot attitude. We are able to keep all the visuals very personal. Whether or not you like it. was about “interior space”—dreams. Why Iceland? Because it felt right.
148 . But the problem is always the client. I don’t know right now how I am going to accomplish this. I hope one day to be able to create a visual world that is so coherent that I no longer have to explain it to others. As soon as you have a client. You have to talk about what you do instead of just doing it. your relationship to your work becomes complicated. advertising agencies are calling me to do what I can do best. the journey to get there is boring.VV: Can you maintain this attitude in your commercial work? BS: At long last. It is probably a blessing in disguise: When you know where you are going.
If the bleary-eyed jurors were to clock six solid hours to judge their share of the entries.315 entries each that first day as part of the preselection process. we were supposed to select the gold and silver medals—but more about that later. Yet. in the competitive context of our capitalist system. as it is in real life. In this preselection process. many of the judges have misgivings. we were to review 1. Divided into six teams. we indeed judge books by their covers. but” or “considering that . turn off your cell phones. they would have to look at 219 items per hour—at the rate of 16.and silver-medal selection process requires that on the second day you take your time to consider—and reconsider—the impulsive choices you’ve 149 . it’s as fair as it gets. The event is a no-frill/no-perk operation. In other words. It’s not a glamorous occasion either. Those who can still see straight find their way to the SPD party—a fabulous bash where they can socialize at last and release some of their guilt.Judging Excellence: An Unscientific Affair Véronique Vienne There is only one thing worse than designing-by-committee: It’s judgingdesign-by-committee. All you get is a clipboard. No speeches. And no time for turning the entry forms around to check who’s the art director. And please.891 design entries from around the world— impartially. The work is assessed according to its eye appeal. at the end of that first day.2 seconds a pop. you do the math.” Not surprisingly. I don’t have to tell you that the Society of Publication Designers annual competition is not a scientific affair on par with the strict review process of the Food and Drug Administration. no milling around. but. On Sunday. And before you know it. Heck. and a name tag. a pencil. There is no room in it for “yes. no fancy-schmancy coffee breaks. the boot camp atmosphere of the event is designed to benefit the entrants. meticulously. Actually. they would instantly fall behind. they would have less than ten seconds to glance at each piece submitted for their inspection. The judges are in the same exact conditions as readers perusing through rows and rows of publications at crowded newsstands. and of course enthusiastically. Why on earth would anyone want to do this? That’s what we all wondered on that bleak Saturday morning last January as we gathered at Parsons School of Design in Manhattan. The process is not scientific. . this is exactly how this great design compendium came about: As the result of a two-day judging marathon during which fortynine top editorial designers were locked together over a weekend and expected to collectively appraise 7. . There is no time for rationalizing the merits of the various elements on the page. the process of elimination is cruel and ruthless. But there is redemption after all—on Sunday appropriately enough. The gold. But if they were allowed to waste precious minutes socializing (gossiping with colleagues in hallways is so much fun).
who co-chaired the competition.” And that’s something we can all agree on. agonizing over which work was most praiseworthy. They ponder. as Bride Whelan likes to put it. we came to accept that not all winners can win the award they deserve. we all share the ultimate prize: We never stop trying to be better. We were bestowing too many gold medals. They negotiate. we were still at the bargaining table. had to be called as a referee. Yet. They laugh. As luck would have it. she instructed us to be less generous. “Ain’t we swell. They can argue with the other members of their group to upgrade an award or demote an entry to a lesser status.made earlier. While all the other groups had already packed their bags and gone home. before leaving the room. We all wanted to do the right thing by giving each contestant a fair hearing. we all felt a great sense of pride. At last. And eventually they agree. The quality of the work out there is simply amazing. Or. An entry does not get a medal unless all six jurors support it. The jurors can vote to bring back entries that were eliminated. as the sun was setting over the frigid Manhattan skyline. my group was made up of strong-minded individuals who were as articulate as they were obstinate. Geraldine Hessler. Though we can only honor a handful of our peers. she insisted. It was a lonely moment for sure. Sternly. 150 .
This does not mean that I am the alpha-male in a creative relationship. 151 . in a sense. I’ve learned to art direct designers. Then a healthy give-and-take is possible. art direct editors.09: Is It “Us” Against “Them”? Art Directing Editors: Four Brief Scenarios Steven Heller If it is us against them. Harper’s Bazaar. Such is the reality of the editor/art director relationship. illustrators. As an art director. but it does mean I must be willing to collaborate (and educate) in such a way that most of my creative intentions are fulfilled. Other times respect by the editor for the art director allows delegation of responsibilities. a legendary art director of Esquire. The late Henry Wolf. Sometimes the chemistry is volatile to the point of explosive when goals. and tastes are at odds. Otherwise the odds will always be against us. Editors run magazines and art directors serve editors. while at the same time I satisfy the editor’s priorities—and it is not always easy. with the understanding that the art director is cognizant of the editor’s overarching concerns. and photographers. With few exceptions. but I also have had to. and Show magazines during the late 1950s and 1960s. aesthetics. they will always win. editors are on the top of the masthead and art directors are below them. So rather than be “against” we should be “with” them.
the younger or neophyte art director cannot use “experience” as leverage. Therefore. but in any situation where authority is at stake viable strategies are useful. But remember this: if the editor hired you in the first place.” So use your experience to promote a dialog and apply your institutional memory toward building a healthy dependence on your talents. or stay and educate the editor on those points of design that you feel will be compatible with her vision. 152 . Arnold Gingrich. understand the editor’s likes and dislikes and adapt your vision accordingly. Here are a few: 1. Old art director and young editor. If this does not work. essential for the art director to address and interpret and act upon those tastes and preferences. Obviously. Although there are no definitive procedures in maintaining healthy relationships. this compromise had its limitations. 2. but do so in a cautious manner. because. So each relationship requires different strategic plans. so build on that foundation.often explained in speeches at art directors’ events how he and his editor. Young art director and veteran editor.’” Of course. In this case there are two alternatives: leave the magazine if said tastes are anathema. If Gingrich was vehemently against something running in the magazine. I don’t like it. Discuss radical departures from convention beforehand. Never spring an unprecedented idea as a fait accompli. a seasoned editor will have acquired prejudices about design. This relationship can be a little dicey. maybe the relationship is doomed. But even if this is not the case. he recalled. It is. “Gingrich would say: ‘Henry. Editor–art director relationships come in many varieties. there are common situations that by their very nature suggest certain approaches. because it will end in anger and distrust. believe me. which can be the proverbial “rub” that produces the inevitable friction. editors’ preferences will usually take precedence. After all. young tastes. which is not meant to sound conspiratorial. yet must nonetheless establish a climate of respect and trust. Wolf gave in almost immediately. This does not mean it is impossible to teach the old dog new tricks. The key to art directing is being able to convincingly communicate intent and desire in a productive manner. but in art directing an editor the goal is to find the best balance. no two people are alike. So never try to pull a fast one on the experienced editor. Obviously. a young editor usually comes to a magazine with. settled their minor disputes over editorial content. go right ahead. therefore. if Wolf was adamant. well. but you are the art director and if you do. she knows all the tricks. there must be some positive chemistry. It is axiomatic that new editors want their own looks and often the art director is the first expendable employee during a regime change. Rather. an older art director should never pull “agerank” because it will simply agitate and antagonize—no editor wants to hear that they are “too young to understand. In this relationship. nor are their interactions with others. Never try to doubletalk the editor. Conversely.
And “astonish” (as Alexey Brodovitch used to say) the editor with your abilities. the art director should know how to mitigate. This vintage dynamic presupposes that both parties truly understand the other’s wants. but do not surprise her with inappropriate solutions to editorial problems. The above scenarios for art directors are just as easily applied to editors. and act accordingly. ameliorate. nor as a pair of hands that can be moved at will. the art director must be adept at arguing in an unthreatening manner. For starters. This is accomplished through collegial communication. Make sure the editor gets as excited as you are about your choice of particular photographers and illustrators. so be careful. but rather respect for talent. the best art director is an interpreter who. and extricate. A good one has to be skilled at “editing an art director. While conflicts will still occur. 153 . On the surface peer-to-peer relationships appear easier owing to shared cultural and social references. Young art director and young editor. this does not suggest master/slave domination. 4. through design. But an editor is an editor. and photography. Ego plays an even larger role with experienced art directors and editors than neophytes. It can also be the proverbial bad marriage. typography. Old art director and old editor. No art director wants to be viewed as a mere facilitator or messenger between editor and creatives. and even this useful commonality is not always a guarantee for success. Disagreements between two old hands are to be expected. Art directing an editor is making it possible for that vision to be interpreted in the best possible way.” Again. skill. illustration. Insecurity born of inexperience must be addressed early on in a relationship. This can be the most sublime of all relationships assuming the goals are one and respect for each other’s abilities is accepted.3. make no secret about your own enthusiasm for the magazine’s content and how it can be greatly enhanced by your contributions. From the art director’s vantage point the best editor is an enabler who creates the environment in which to produce the best work. the art director must be prepared to persuade the editor to accept design decisions that are beneficial to the both of you. will make concrete the editor’s vision. and boundaries. As long as the hierarchy is in place. From the editor’s vantage point. but in art directing the editor. Inexperience is often a conflict waiting to happen.
Don’t get frustrated. Push people to work at the highest level they are capable of. • Show examples of design that works. Make sure your staff has clear-cut responsibilities. etc. show your editors that they don’t only have one choice. explain all that is involved in a cover shoot. Don’t go to the mat for every disagreement. • Pick your battles. • Establish your role as a problem solver. Articulate why a layout isn’t working so your designers will learn for next time. is a good idea. • Teach your editors about what you do. . Your editors will get better results if they instruct you on an editorial goal and let you solve the problem of visual presentation. . paper. Going on press. • Don’t let problems simmer. It’s easier to fix a problem if you know the basics.” and More Sharon Okamoto As former deputy art director at Time magazine. know how it works. even just once. • Keep your editors in the loop. • Good morale goes a long way. • Provide options. • Not everyone is a star and that’s okay. The problems may be more easily solved than you think. . Support your layouts with logical and journalistic reasoning.” “Don’t Be Vague. You could always take a little from this one and a little from that one. For instance. you work harder with better results. with your editors: • Be articulate about your design choices. Avoid art-speak. Get thorny issues out in the open. Cut down on stress. Save your strength for the biggies. When you’re happy at work and feel appreciated. At least they should know the complexity and cost of what they ask for. with production: • If you are going to complain about it. . binding. here are my personal tips for keeping the peace and working cooperatively with your creative staff: • Don’t be vague. . Showing strong layouts from other magazines can lead to good discussions about design. If possible. Educate yourself about inks. Make sure your editor has seen all layouts and revisions and is aware of any deadline problems.Peacekeeping Tips: “Keep Them in the Loop. • Everyone’s entitled to a life. Keep your staff organized so people can go home at a reasonable end of the day. • Art directors should be good teachers. . 154 . “Make it red!” Ugh.
Before the issue goes to press. have a post mortem. Once it is printed. This quality-control person should communicate your concerns to the plant. • Have scheduled meetings.• Have a point person on your staff. 155 . meet to go over specific concerns such as color or inline problems.
Cover Garbage: Who’s to Blame? Steven Heller
The person or persons who invented magazine coverlines should be dragged out in public, stripped butt naked, and before being tarred and feathered, have this: Inside: Special Report: I Made Magazine Covers Ugly Exclusive: Page 2 tattooed all over his and/or her body in Futura Condensed w/shadow and Lightline Gothic ranging in size from 12 to 72 points. This is a just retribution for their crime against magazines, because the ways in which coverlines are used today have done more to lower the aesthetic standards of magazine design than any of the other maladies affecting late-twentieth-century periodical publishing. The coverline, also known as the “teaser” or “refer” (short for “referral”), is the headline on a front cover that announces—or sells—the lead story or entire contents of a particular magazine. With the venerable exception of the New Yorker (which prints its coverlines on flaps attached to newsstand copies only, so as not to impinge on the cover art, a practice it borrowed from the late WigWag magazine), every commercial magazine uses them in one form or another. Most are ill conceived. Okay, not all magazine coverlines are grossly handled: Metropolis, for one, seamlessly integrates its refers into the overall design; Atlantic Monthly tastefully composes the few that it has so as not to interfere with the cover image; and Rolling Stone, though laden with an abundance, routinely changes typefaces to express the mood of the cover photograph. But these are exceptions to a convention that has turned the most valuable piece of editorial real estate into a waste dump of intrusive typography. Fashion, lifestyle, and shelter magazines, like Vogue, ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Traveler, Mademoiselle, Redbook, McCall’s, Brides, and Better Homes and Gardens, are among the worst offenders. Headlines crisscross their respective covers like scaffolding in front of a construction site, obstructing any possible effectiveness of the central image. But even worse, when displayed in magazine shops and on newsstand or supermarket racks, the critical mass of them form a typographic jumble that negates anything resembling a design standard. Whatever strategic benefit that might possibly be gained by having excessive selling copy on the front cover is invariably reduced to almost nil by the fact that most magazines are doing it. The current practice of tightly squeezing as much hyperbolic verbiage as possible onto a cover started back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when
former Condé Nast design czar, Alexander Liberman, ordered the designers of the fashion and lifestyle magazines under his powerful auspices to reject haute design in favor of techniques common to sensationalistic tabloids, like the National Enquirer. These tropes had already been adopted by underground press and punk publications. And in light of this, Liberman reasoned that fashion had become too frou-frou and required an injection of grit that could be accomplished through crass graphic design. Concurrently, marketing experts believed that coverlines would increase visibility and attract customers in a highly competitive field. In theory, the chaotic approach mirrored changing social attitudes; nevertheless the shift from the old to a new style—from elegance to controlled sensationalism—marked the first step in a devolution of commercial-magazine cover design from pure concept to advertising billboard. Covers were once designed with emphasis on a strong image. In the 1930s, magazines like Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar didn’t even use coverlines. When newsstand competition became more intense in the 1950s and 60s, coverlines were more common, but as a rule short headlines introduced a magazine’s main theme or lead story, while possibly a few B-heads signaling offleads were unobtrusively placed in a corner. When that balance between image and text shifted in the 1980s, the aesthetics also changed. Billboards composed of discordant typefaces dropped out of black boxes or primary color bands, mortised around photographs, and printed in nauseatingly fluorescent colors became the norm. Condé Nast’s covers were routinely more cluttered than most, but its competitors sunk to the occasion by accordingly junking up their own. Coincidentally, as the overall size of magazines shrunk owing to higher paper costs, the quantity of coverlines grew. Even magazines that are not part of this genre, such as Newsweek and Time, have increasingly become more coverline dependent. Once the die was cast, coverlines became a widespread “necessary” evil. Certain magazines have tried to be more tasteful than, say, Vogue or Mademoiselle, but with so many headlines to juggle even good design intentions are thwarted. On the whole, magazine covers are inferior to much of the advertising inside. Cover images are wallpaper against which headlines are surprinted, dropped out, and otherwise superimposed. As a consequence, commercial-magazine cover art and photography has declined precipitously, to the point where a startling (or even memorable) cover, like those George Lois conceived and designed for Esquire in the 1960s, are rare exceptions to the rule. Another consequence is that coverlines, and therefore covers themselves, are decided upon by committees in the same way a broadsheet newspaper is planned out. With coverlines as the dominant component, editors aggressively vie to get their stories placed on the cover. The designer’s role is no longer to solve conceptual visual problems, but to arrange or compose the type for maximum impact. But, even here, the job is often usurped by editors. A designer for a high-circulation style magazine, who requested anonymity,
describes one such cover approval procedure: “The cover subject is decided upon by the editor, usually a portrait of a celebrity who is hot at that moment. After the image is shot and selected, I am given a file of headlines in order of their importance, which I must then somehow lay out so as to highlight sometimes as many as three lead and three off-lead stories while retaining the integrity of the photograph. After I’ve managed to solve the puzzle, more or less to my satisfaction, the comp is invariably noodled to death with comments like: ‘This headline is too large, this is not large enough. Why not use a color band here, or drop out the color there?’ The bottom line is that the cover has to smack the reader in the eyes at the expense of design standards.” While this designer acknowledges the challenge involved in trying to orchestrate so many elements, she nevertheless complains that rarely does it result in good design. Of course, one can’t blame coverlines (or their makers) for all the ills of periodical design. But the way that they have been used—the increasing number of them on magazines—has had a deleterious effect on entire magazine genres, as well as the designers that work on them. “And one last thing,” adds the designer bitterly, “It is difficult to develop into a really good designer when what is acceptable is so poor to begin with.”
10: When Is the Editor an Art Director?
The Editor as Visual Freak: A Paper Manifesto A Conversation with Kim Hastreiter and Peter Buchanan-Smith Editor and Art Director, Paper Magazine
An art director at a magazine is hired to contribute to the visual personality while expressing the editorial direction. Paper has had a strong visual persona prior to this. Steven Heller: Kim, what do you expect from your new art director? Kim Hastreiter: It has been twenty years since my partner David and I
started Paper with $4,000 in my Tribeca loft. Even in our very first issue, design innovation was a huge part of our magazine. (Paper was first designed as a broadsheet poster, art directed by the very talented British art director, Lucy Sisman.) I am personally a design freak and it has always been critical to me that Paper look innovative, break new design ground, yet always be designed brilliantly and functionally—which to me means that it would not only look amazing but also have humility as well as sparks of surprise and innovation, enough to compel the reader to stop, look, read, understand, and then want to go on to the next page.
August 2005. Fergie. 160 . typography: PBS.Paper cover. photography: Jessica Craig-Martin. art director: PBS.
161 . typography: PBS. illustrator: Brian Lightbody. “Pop (Goes the World)”. art director: PBS. June/July 2005. photography: Danielle Levitt.Paper cover.
So it has always reflected our own barometer of aesthetic. We’ve always been leaders and we look forward to Peter’s keen eye to take us to a new 162 . We like change.” 2. but I have very strong tastes. as most editors and publishers are not necessarily visual freaks like me. change. We have changed our logo every month for many years. We separate the great from the mediocre.” “Feels like Paper. I expect my art director to be an advocate for my aesthetic. very strong personal tastes. We believe the two are not mutually exclusive. which I also defend for my brand. Although we are not a pure fashion magazine. We are eclectic enthusiasts. Communicating our editorial ideas and information clearly and stunningly. 4. This is how we keep moving forward. Communicating elegantly and with beauty. (It drives me crazy to see art directors whose design becomes more important than the content. I have very strong aesthetic opinions. It represents our enthusiasm for stuff.” We’d plaster them onto stuff we liked. wit. Many of us are by nature subversives and radicals here at Paper.I expect our new art director to continue in this tradition by: 1. That is our franchise. How much of his job will be to maintain the franchise. thought. but just to understand what I love and what I don’t love. 3. and. and I would need to feel this affinity for any art director who would be taking over the visual direction of Paper. Paper represents us.” “Tastes like Paper. because if they clash with this. I don’t mean to say that I don’t welcome new aesthetic choices. style. What a perfect time to refresh. I need to be sure my art director is able to relate to my personal aesthetic. This doesn’t mean they need to mimic me. We love to shuffle the deck. We love to shock and surprise people and we also like to sometimes pull the rug out from under what we do. and how much to expand it? We once did these star-shaped stickers that said. And style is the big umbrella for our brand. and work within that and even add to it as well. We’ve always made it for ourselves. Style with substance. Although I am not an art director. Every so often we will just move everything around in our magazine when things begin to feel dull. Peter’s job will certainly be to maintain the above. and content. and surprise people.) This means they must read the stories they are laying out. style is what our magazine is really about at the core. But as I am a very. Communicating our content with innovation. but we need to be coming from the same visual universe or else it won’t work. We are not synthesizing our magazine for some demographic or audience. I am open to and love integrating someone else’s ideas. it will be very difficult. My last thought is a bit unusual. We are thrilled to have celebrated our twentieth anniversary this year but our new motto is that we need to think about Paper as if we were only “one year old” now. Type is not just “grey stuff. very visual person with very. This is very personal to me. “Smells like Paper. most importantly: style.
163 . beauty. it’s easy for someone to say that they are hiring you because they like your designs. cars. Paper is a magazine that addresses and promotes contemporary style. the first big hurdle has been conquered. Our brand will need to maintain a high level of design and a beautiful aesthetic that will continue to attract this business and hopefully grow it.place with a new package. Peter’s vision is modern and smart. What do you see as your role at Paper? How much of your job will be to continue the legacy. Our magazine is supported by fashion advertisers who are the core of our business. We have never been afraid to change and lead. rather build on its success and tease out its spirit. I think this kind of modernity and intelligence brought to our readers with style will be new. new photography. I don’t want to create an entirely new magazine. and the people of Paper understand what I can bring to the table (on both a design and editorial front) and I therefore feel a real (and rare) freedom to perform the way I want to: as I’ve learned. I feel that Kim. and another thing for them to be comfortable using those designs when it comes time to actually make them a reality. David. electronics). it’s reassuring to know that Paper is a place with real depth and true character. which means it must be ahead of the design curve. With Paper’s twenty-year legacy at stake. SH: Peter. We cannot change this part of our franchise. If we lose them. how integral is the art director to identifying and presenting this contemporary vision? KH: To me. I also needed to make sure he would be able to deal with the business constraints of Paper. to the printed word) and then interpret that visually. the art direction is everything. We have always been leaders. Because we’re already visually in-tune. It was critical for me when I hired him to make sure he could deal with this as well as with our sometimes “lite” and humor-filled pop-cultural content. As big a challenge as this might be. and how much will you change it? Peter Buchanan-Smith: Luckily. How that exactly will unfold will depend primarily on how quickly I can come to terms with the unique character of Paper (from the people that work here. we lose our other categories of advertising who are “followers” of the fashion brands (like liquor. I cannot bear the thought of aesthetic mediocrity in Paper. Plus he has an elegant eye. SH: Kim. I can’t wait. One of the design challenges for Peter is he has not had a lot of experience working under such a strong “style” mandate. The fashion business is largely based on “image” and aesthetic. We started this whole style/pop cultural magazine category in 1984 and look how many people followed us.
art director: PBS. photography: Danielle Levitt.” May 2005. 164 . “The Story of Kelly O. typography: PBS.Paper cover.
165 . typography: PBS. art director: PBS.” September 2005. photography: Richard Burbridge. “Shock and Awe.Paper cover.
When I saw them. furniture). I then told him mine. (We are all very quirky at Paper. He is smart and quirky. This means working hard to understand the ingredients of what goes into Paper and having the sense and confidence to remove those ingredients that are spoiling the dish. which I did by asking him to list his loves and dislikes artistically (artists. It took five seconds for me to call him. he is a truly editorial thinker. and portfolios and didn’t like anything. As an art director. I then needed to confirm our aesthetic compatibility. Most magazines are soulless. They woke me up. He’s someone who I think can contribute much more than just laying out pretty pages. I loved that he is a thinking person. One day. I felt so lucky when Peter dropped in my lap. how do you create a design environment that is unimpeachably contemporary.SH: Peter. but respecting expertise (if not turf) is key to a successful collaboration. The right fit on both editorial and design sides is difficult. and then adding new ones to give it more flavor. and in light of the current media climate. I hope that an honest sense of personality will be reflected in the creative direction. I needed to make sure he agreed with/appreciated my aesthetic. which is so unusual to find. He is a concept guy. He packages. I am very intuitive and live by my gut. as I am such a visual freak. they spoke to me. architects. There was no question in my mind from the second I saw his work. how do you know that this magazine is the right fit for you? PB: Paper has had to take the chances that no one else would take and had to be resourceful on a scale that most magazines can afford not to be. and it presents me with an extremely exciting challenge.) I am thrilled to have him become part of our team. Now that they’ve just passed the twenty-year marker. SH: Kim. Collaboration is essential at a magazine. 166 . bios. indeed ahead of the convention? PB: The answer to this is simple: be smart. Peter dropped off a letter and a bag of his books and I jumped up and down. fashion designers. this job is super critical. how do you determine how right the fit is? KH: For me in particular. so for me an easy solution (but a difficult execution) is to create a real magazine that recognizes and challenges the reader’s intelligence and imagination. which I love. In searching for a new creative director. I had looked at hundreds and hundreds of books. I feel there’s even more of an urgency to maintain these values. As I understand and take on the character of Paper. Deciding on an art director is critical to a magazine. SH: Peter.
We love to find brilliant. An even greater art director also thinks. It is an abstract quality but people know when they see it. We are collaborators at Paper and do not like to ghettoize people. A great art director for Paper can keep our brand ahead of the pack—they can create desire for it by making it fresh. I have had my previous art director create better coverlines or write fabulous headlines. Finally. SH: Kim. what is the definition of a great art director? KH: A great art director designs and packages with elegance. provocative. the best idea wins. wonderful people and nurture them. SH: Peter. surprising. and wit. we say thank you (not “this isn’t your job”). It’s not about who came up with it. scale. power. 167 . When this happens. my expertise supercedes when I can make the right case. what are the parameters of the Paper editor? At what stage does your expertise supercede hers? PB: I feel like the parameters of everyone’s position at Paper are elastic. Knowing that Kim has hired me for the right reasons makes me more at ease to stand firm and make my case and to likewise bend when I have to. and strengthens existing ideas with visual power. what are the parameters of the Paper art director? Where are the contributions welcome and where are they not? KH: Paper has always been a vehicle for showing talent. So far. We all contribute (and it is quite a cast of characters) but we will also defer in respect to each other’s expertise. Although we’re each hard at work to fulfill the promises of our job descriptions. and compelling.SH: Kim. SH: Peter. what is the definition of a great editor? PB: A smart and trusting person with impeccable taste. reads. To me. all collaborations are based on certain standards of quality. confidence. everyone is encouraged to have an eye on the larger picture and to contribute on any level at the right time and place.
and became a prominent political figure. In 1947. much larger than her diminutive size. a photographer who calls her “one of the most remarkable personalities in the magazine world. she embraced Dior’s then-unpopular New Look. In 1965. and Françoise Dolto. she promoted Coco Chanel’s comeback. And indeed. the French press snubbed the famous Mademoiselle. she adopted designer Courrèges and his all-white futuristic vision. still completely unknown. pert and petite. yet still flexible. and by her ability to empower her entourage. showed war-weary French readers how to be that fantasy creature—the attractive and sympathetic woman men dream of meeting on the terrace of a chic resort hotel. weekly fashion magazine she created in Paris in 1945. and designers who worked for her were brazenly opinionated (no one was ever fired for disagreeing with her). Simone de Beauvoir. Gordon-Lazareff was passionate about everything. is pronounced “ELLE-n” in French. It worked for her.” Russian-born. they almost relished the moment their tiny boss would walk into their office and say. by featuring her on the cover of ELLE. I worked as a summer intern in the ELLE art department. whose first name. In 1958.” as her staff called her affectionately. even though. The bright journalists.” explains that there was almost no difference between ELLE and Hélène.The Woman Who Was ELLE : Hélène Gordon-Lazareff Véronique Vienne Hélène Gordon-Lazareff used to say that women who understand how men look at them will spend all their life sipping champagne on sunny terraces. I was mesmerized by her presence. fashion editors. could only do well what amused her. To capture this fizzy image on paper. she hired Françoise Giroud. ELLE. a dedicated feminist who later founded the French weekly news magazine L’Express. Frank Horvart. convinced that what was right for her couldn’t be wrong for them.” she used to say. “You have to love the people you are with. In 1950. On closing day. at the time. when. “She identified with her readers to the point of never worrying about what they wanted. Marguerite Duras. the smart-looking. she published articles by controversial female writers such as Colette. with a glint in her eyes. Hélène. she launched Brigitte Bardot. I met Madame Gordon-Lazareff a couple of times in the early 1960s. She had an uncanny instinct for picking—or creating—the next star or the next trend. as a high school student. Gordon-Lazareff. In 1952. And week after week. surrounded herself with men who were in love with her—and with female employees who adored her. “It’s the only way to look natural.” The “tsarina. “I’ve got a great idea: Let’s change everything!” How could you argue with someone who had her finger on the pulse of one million readers? 168 .
open-minded.” (In French.” This strategy brought the weekly circulation of ELLE from 600. Not surprisingly. friendly. Guy Bourdin. Keeping house. cooking. I never questioned the magazine’s ultimate motives.” One of Knapp’s contributions was to assemble a team of male photographers—David Bailey. “this was a revolution. the magazine dodged the topic. cucu. developed for ELLE an elegant grid system.“We all had a crush on her. But she had another compelling reason for choosing Knapp as art director. Knapp’s smart cutting-edge design. and a bold layout approach. and seductive.” says Peter Knapp. sewing. One French woman out of six was a regular ELLE reader. “She had a good eye and knew that Swiss graphic design would be the defining style for the magazine. “She was intelligent. while fostering a perception of avantgardism. I was one of them. And though French people love to argue about politics. about everything from abortion to adultery—but the answers were always deeply conservative. Mark Hispart. Seduced as I was by the heterosexual zest displayed on the fashion spreads. cute. youthful. knitting.” he explains. Knapp. “She hated everything trivial. Frank Horvart. Uli Rose. masked the subtle sexist subtext of the editorial message. “She could tell that I was a fan of the opposite sex—that I looked at women more than at their clothes. in touch with people and events. and who established the magazine’s deliberately modern graphic signature. “She wanted me to give her magazine the imprint of a straight man’s sensibility.” Trained at the famous Zurich art school. French women voted for the first time but the magazine’s only comment on election days was to tell readers what to wear to the polls. and many more—who extolled femininity as defined by men in love with women.” She hired Knapp at a time when the magazine was a runaway success but needed revamping to keep up with the expectations of both readers and advertisers. “In the rarefied fashion context of the time.000 in 1954 to one million in 1960. Fouli Elia. In 1945. the coverlines and headlines often asked provocative questions. Under Françoise Giroud’s influence. and taking care of children were celebrated. with GordonLazareff ’s support. there is a double-entendre: Le journal des femmes que les hommes regardent also 169 .” he says. and fussy—everything kiki. shopping. in the Bauhaus tradition. Knapp’s clean delivery made me feel smart. How to attract and please a man was the driving force behind most of the articles. And year after year it alluded to political events by describing in detail the wardrobes of the wives of presidents and heads of state. coco.” insists Knapp. Helmut Newton. the fashion spreads were upbeat. I became dependent on my Monday fix—on this appreciative masculine gaze focused on my gender. a restrained sans-serif typography. Robert Frank. and innovative. and a great judge of talent. the Swiss artist and photographer who was art director of ELLE between 1954 and 1966. as she used to say in slang. ELLE’s moniker was “The Magazine for Women Men Admire.
and a literary newspaper. Namely: Never show a photograph without a caption. it had dropped to a mere 370. and Great Britain. lavish fashion spreads featuring models who are sexy. To understand why such a talented woman is today cast as a non-entity. you have to spell her name three times over the phone before the head of publicity gets it. thanks to ELLE magazine.000. where the French branch of ELLE is headquartered. the United States. when you call the public relations department of the New York office of Hachette Filippachi. feel that they are part of the seduction charade. Today. and clean. Never interfere with the readability of the text. with most of them becoming fashion connoisseurs. who taught her to speak English.” They got hooked. Yet. styles. in department stores and boutiques. Italy.means “The Women’s Magazine Men Admire”). Boris Gordon. a sophisticated man who loved the arts. thesis. Her father. And most of the design rules so dear to Gordon-Lazareff are still respected. the nice lady at the desk assumes that you are a graduate student working on some obscure Ph. I decided to dig through her personal life in search of an answer for such a willful omission. cheerful color photography. Hélène Gordon was born in Russia in 1909 into a well-to-do Jewish family. By the time she died of Alzheimer’s disease in 1988. her spirit. and trends.D. French men routinely walk right into fitting rooms with their female companions to advise them on the choice of a garment—evidence of how comfortable they are with designer labels. and how much women welcome their educated opinion. With only a few exceptions. including Japan. sans-serif typography. when GordonLazareff officially retired from the magazine in 1972. a growing number of men confessed that they indeed liked to flip through the pages of ELLE to “check the fashion. the company that acquired ELLE in the early 1980s. Never start a story at the bottom of a page. To this day. and ask for press clips on Hélène GordonLazareff. no one knows who you are talking about. the weekly circulation was still a cool million. And when eventually you obtain permission to sift through old issues of French ELLE in the cramped research library. The rich little girl was raised by a British nanny. Korea. and her contribution? Could it be that folks who run ELLE magazine today are simply jealous? Indeed. there are sixteen international editions of ELLE magazine. and China. as well as Australia. The best-kept fashion secret of French women is the fact that the men in their life. with well-defined visual cues. And always use boldface for heads and subheads. Thanks 170 . The magazine has become a global brand. In Neuilly. In the history of magazines. such as bright white paper. they all have adopted the original French graphic format as defined by Knapp almost fifty years ago. Why is the tsarina so completely forgotten? Why is no one interested in who she was—her persona. Brazil. few founding editors have had such a lasting influence on their publication. Through the years. France. owned a prosperous tobacco company. though not sexual. a small theater.
years later living as a refugee in New York during World War II.” Upon returning from her African expedition in 1936. And to be ready to revise your world’s view. with her new husband Pierre and her daughter Michèle. though she liked to tell that she learned her métier and paid her dues as a journalist at the night desk of the New York Times. To be precise.” remembers Knapp. and go on a mission to Sudan. with France defeated by Hitler. Hélène thrived in the White Russian milieu of the French capital. she quickly found work. In the French tradition. Both intelligent and frivolous. where she met Diana Vreeland and legendary art director Alexey Brodovitch. . then ten years old. the Gordons fled to Turkey. . Never to take no for an answer. she kept this fearless outlook. well-read in French. first at Harper’s Bazaar. to study the life of the Dogons. was able to adapt effortlessly to the American culture. Eventually they ended up in Paris. have a child. if not superior. a progressive evening newspaper. she manifested early on a pronounced taste for expensive clothes and adoring young men. Hélène Gordon met her soon-to-be husband. As an adult. Naturally self-confident. She never understood why women wanted to fight for something they already had. “All the elements of her brand of journalism were in place. at the onset of the Bolshevik revolution. where she was exposed to the formidable Carmel Snow. their wealth somehow intact. Hélène Gordon perfected in the African desert the observation skills she used later when deciphering the manners and idiosyncrasies of French culture. In 1940. In “La Tzarine. Not to jump to conclusions . In the midst of it all. To listen. even getting a job as a reporter at the New York Times. get divorced. a poet who worked at ELLE as a journalist. author Dubois-Jallais writes. Though born and raised in Paris. Hélène. . if need be. In 1917.” the only published biography on Gordon-Lazareff. To note the details . a young and talented journalist who ran Paris-Soir. English. Pierre Lazareff. Russian. she was forever under the spell of all things Anglo-Saxon. one of the last primitive tribes of the Sahara. to men. they stayed devoted to each other in public and private while having affairs—with Hélène flaunting lovers too numerous to be counted. 171 . Fluent in English. Mademoiselle Gordon entered the Sorbonne after graduation to pursue a degree in ethnography. and at Vogue.” A brilliant student in high school. and German. . what they had in common was a ferocious ambition. she felt nothing was impossible. he was a Russian Jew like her. But more than their origins. To see the big picture . Hélène. although their sexual intimacy was short-lived. she managed to get married. “That’s why she wasn’t much of a feminist. These American editors became her role models. “She sincerely believed that women were equal. Though Slavic by birth and temperament. escaped to New York. Spoiled by her parents. To go see for yourself. It was love at first sight—a love that lasted all their lives. . According to Denise Dubois-Jallais. . To work as a team. in Northeast Africa.to Miss Woodell. where she was in charge of writing and editing the women’s page.
Hélène Gordon-Lazareff arranged to have the first fifteen covers of ELLE shot by American photographers. as editor-in-chief of France-Soir.” says Frank Horvat. “The first duty of a journalist is to be read. with the small alley in front of the building named after Pierre Lazareff. “Hélène never made women feel inferior. in the heart of Paris’s garment district. at 100. he remained one of the most respected men in French journalism. he was his old self again. on the edge of despair. They give readers the impression that they are not good enough—too fat. too this. He made room for her on the fifth floor of the France-Soir building. Pierre.” The first cover of ELLE. he frittered time away with other illustrious French refugees. To convince his wife to leave New York and join him in Paris. there is life. The France-Soir office. Lazareff quickly raised money for her to start the magazine of her dreams. setting the stage for what would become the most talked-about his-and-her journalistic venture: Pierre and Hélène. the big boss of the most popular French daily paper. including ELLE. the couple that literally made news. an instant success at the newsstand on Monday November 21. developing in her mind the format of the women’s magazine she would launch in France as soon as the war was over. but an attitude. Before leaving New York. author of The Little Prince. featured a sophisticated blond model in a chic. too that. are too clever. sporting a top hat and an amused smile on her face: In her arms.” he used to say.” 172 . From 1944 to 1972. never managed to overcome the language barrier in the United States.Pierre Lazareff. Unexpected and charming. a man remembered for using his considerable charm and intelligence to get the story first. “When there is color. the newspaper and the magazine. the photograph was quintessential ELLE style: not a look. too old. Color photography—with models wearing bright outfits and vibrant accessories—is still the trademark of ELLE magazine. bright red. most fashion magazines today.” said Françoise Giroud. as soon as Paris was liberated. 1947. More dash than cash. The painful discrepancy between their careers only deepened the gulf between them. fitted. is now a landmark. Pierre was back in his hometown. While his wife was busy absorbing the finer points of fact-checking (a practice still unknown today in France). when he died of cancer. too outmoded. still unknown in France. among them Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. As the French saying goes. While Hélène was walking down Broadway. the postwar incarnation of the progressive evening paper he had created in 1935. rue de Réaumur. “In contrast. In 1944. she is holding a squirming calico cat. was considering suicide. military jacket. In no time. so articulate in French. High fashion made accessible to the woman in the streets. “She was the first to master color photography. with color film she knew was not available in Europe. too uncool.
People couldn’t help but remember the two-line poem French surrealist poet Philippe Soupault. she was a mere shadow. There is too much second-guessing. .” says Knapp. little smoke/And oblivion in a wool dress . ELLE is still a weekly magazine. “It’s no longer spontaneous. Already.Antoine Kieffer. Maybe the unrest in the streets reminded her of how she was forced to flee Russia in the middle of the night in 1917. “but it looks like a monthly. 173 .” In France. who worked with Knapp at ELLE in the late 1950s before going to Marie Claire.” It would be a sad story indeed if it wasn’t for all the women happily sipping champagne on sunny terraces. one of her many talented lovers. during the student revolt in Paris. By 1972. . “The editorial content was people-oriented.” Hélène Gordon-Lazareff slipped into oblivion long before the end of her life. in 1940. with everyone mingling and having a good time. she showed signs of memory loss. Her magazine was like her parties: done with flair. and how. in 1968. but the message is not what Hélène would have called feminine. again. she had to escape hastily to save herself and her family. wandering aimlessly in the hallways of the magazine she had created as her alter-ego. agrees. Hélène liked to give parties. It has retained the clean graphic signature of the early days. Take my word for it: there is nothing like it. had written for her in 1930: “Little me.
drank dry martinis. it was a breakthrough in an ossified culture.” recalls Hefner. he contrived a culture that encouraged hedonistic and narcissistic behavior on the one hand and social and political awareness on the other. “We came out of a period where magazine illustration was inspired by Norman Rockwell and variations on realism and I was much more influenced by abstract art of the early 1950s and by Picasso. and illustration must not be underestimated in the calculus of success. maintained hip bachelor pads. as he was known. because with so much riding on Playboy’s premiere (Hefner invested his last dime and used his furniture as collateral to raise the initial $8. drove imported sports cars. which began in 1938 and published sultry pinup drawings by Petty and Vargas. did not accomplish this alone. Through the magazine. if Hefner had not enticed former Chicago Bauhaus (Institute of Design) student Art Paul to become the magazine’s founding art director. Moreover. the magazine was titled Stag Party (after a 1930s book of ribald cartoons titled Stag at Eve) and the initial dummy (designed by cartoonist R. In fact. enabled men to experience the sexual side of life unfettered by stultifying postwar mores and preemptive censorship that made nudity unsavory and sex taboo. his message would not have been so broadly accepted (with a high of over seven million paid circulation) if not for Playboy’s innovative graphic approach. what Hefner wanted. Which is why Hugh Hefner. if it looked the least bit tawdry—like some nudist magazine—the project would have been doomed. the magazine’s format. But Hef. however. “I was looking for a magazine that was as innovative in its illustration and design as it was in its concept. Playboy magazine is a throwback to the Stone Age. Playboy was based on Hefner’s belief that men had the right to be. libidinous rogues who listened to cool jazz. who studied art at the University of Illinois. the first men’s “lifestyle” magazine. and in the bargain would incite something of a cultural revolution—the Playboy revolution. Even Esquire. It was not. or fantasize about being. typography. in turn. Therefore. But when it premiered in 1953. decided to invent a publication that would radically change the form and content of magazines. I was looking for 174 . who had briefly worked in the promotion department of Esquire. an illustrator and designer with a small office under the elevated subway on Chicago’s Van Buren Street. and felt good about themselves in the bargain. Playboy. had lost its bite after World War II.Art Paul: Branding Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Steven Heller For the generations weaned on feminism and political correctness. Miller) looked like a movie star/screen magazine with cheese-cake photos and puerile cartoons (a few of them drawn by Hef himself).000). At the time that Hef was introduced to Paul. it is possible that Playboy could have languished in a netherworld between pulp and porn.
But Hefner seduced him with promises. morals.” Hefner explains. but he was put off by the Stag title and suggested that the name be changed. I thought that it was a party that I had missed. which I saw as a sign.” The stock was a nice gesture. I want it to look masculine.” Paul explains. “We made up a list of names that suggested the bachelor life. Even the skirt lengths went down instead of up.” Art Paul was born in Chicago in 1925 and studied with Moholy-Nagy at the Institute of Design from 1946 to 1950.” Paul recalls. So. with this detail out of the way. I liked that connection. Jazz Age. came from the New Yorker of the 1920s and Esquire of the 1930s. But it wasn’t. Scott Fitzgerald. Paul agreed to do the first issue on a freelance basis. he was glad to have taken the stock). particularly back on the twenties. “He kept offering me stock and things of that nature. It was a very politically and socially repressive time. for the first issue Paul cobbled together what he now calls “a scrapbook” of things to come. a hunting magazine. “I said to myself. ‘This is a men’s magazine.” Since Hefner was raised in a typically Midwestern Methodist home with very puritan parents. threatened legal action for infringement. he reminded me of the great dedicated publishers. So the magazine was an attempt to recapture the fantasy of my adolescence. For Hefner. I want it to be as strong as I can make it. He was initially reluctant to join the fledgling magazine because he had a child on the way and needed security that he did not believe was possible with anything as speculative as this. Playboy was a mission to influence the mores. The notion of breaking down the walls between what hung in museums and what appeared in the pages of magazine was very unique at that time and it was what Arthur was all about. and a direct reaction to the fact that after World War II. Paul proceeded to develop a format that reconciled nude photography with the sophisticated fiction and nonfiction that became hallmarks of the Playboy formula. I expected the period to be a reprise of the roaring twenties. “I took on the challenge in broad strokes. I was very limited in the 175 . F. “I was very much influenced by the roaring twenties.’ But I had tremendous limitations with the printing— the printers were doing us a favor by fitting us in.” Paul bought into Hefner’s concept.” So. and ultimately signed on for the next thirty years (and yes. says Hefner. for Paul it was a laboratory that turned into a model of contemporary magazine design and illustration. “I believe that my life and the magazine were a response to that.something that combined less realistic and more innovative art with magazine illustration. but the assurance of freedom to take chances in designing the magazine was decidedly more tempting. and lifestyles of men. “Playboy was in disuse at that point and reflected back on an earlier era. which Hefner did weeks before going to press. “But the way he spoke and his enthusiasm was more convincing. The deadline for the first issue was excruciatingly tight because it needed to get on the newsstands before creditors came banging at Hefner’s door. The original inspiration for the magazine. and only after Stag.
and the publication rights for a couple hundred dollars. not too overpowering yet not frou-frou. color separations. which included its trademark bunny. and I saw the other magazines it would have to compete with. which supplied various nude photographs. Paul employed white space to counterbalance the limited color availability of the first few issues. being quirky yet bold. but by witty ideas and visual puns. As for the absence of multiple colors on the cover. which Paul silhouetted) next to the headline: “First Time in any magazine FULL COLOR the famous MARILYN MONROE NUDE. I felt that ours would have to be simple. it was locked in at the top.” Nonetheless. nothing could be more seductive than the photograph of Marilyn Monroe (a press photo of her in a parade waving to the crowd. Paul explains that it was a problem that turned into an asset: “I was trying to figure out how in the world I could get a magazine that was in no way publicized to be seen [by readers] on the newsstands. and so using the black-and-white photo with a little red on the logo was a plus because it stood out no matter where it was displayed. I found out how ours would be displayed. including one of Marilyn Monroe before she became a sex goddess. the slab serif Egyptian was a perfect fit. which could have been a real handicap. Covers became games that challenged the reader to find the trademark wherever it was hiding—tucked in a corner. Paul’s Playboy covers were driven. For the interior of the magazine. But conceptually. Only two colors were available. Much like Henry Wolf ’s Esquire covers of the late fifties. 176 .” Hefner obtained the centerfold photograph from the John Baumgart calendar company. Hef bought the original transparency. The cover of the premier issue was the most critical decision that Hefner or Paul had to make.” Paul initially wanted the logo or nameplate on the cover to be small and in a variable rather than fixed position.” when he could freely use the logo as a conceptual element— and when he had more conceptual license to manipulate the models. Most used big heads and a lot of color and type. Today Paul says that “some of the more innovative covers happened in the early years. which meant he could move it around as though it were a puzzle piece. It worked well as a logo. not by licentious half-nude women. however. Paul based all his cover concepts around different ways to inject the bunny into the design. So I looked at magazines in a way I never had looked before. or fashioned from the legs and torso of a cover model. Years later.number of typefaces and ended up using Stymie. placed on a tie clasp.
“By the later part of the first year.” says Hefner about the notion that nudity had to be connected to “art” or be considered obscene. By the third issue. but it was early in the following year when we got what I was looking for.” The important breakthrough came in shots of Janet Pilgrim. It was that nice girls like sex too. which idolized the familiar and romanticized the positive side of America. who Hefner was dating at the time. He says as a child he savored “the pure magic of the 1920s and 30s [illustration]. were shot in abstract settings—they were considered art studies. which for the first issue was quickly transformed by pasting the head of a rabbit onto its body. “Entertainment for Men. rather than buying them through stock providers. “If you look at it. In the picture. Paul’s then wife made a nascent bunny out of fabric for a cover. Paul’s first love was illustration. Paul’s original drawing of the bunny in profile is what became the “empire’s logo. “The first centerfold was in the December 1954 issue. including our Marilyn Monroe nude. while Pilgrim prepares herself at the vanity powdering her nose for a date. sex was okay. Hefner wanted a mascot from the outset: “Esquire and the New Yorker both had male symbols [Esky and Eustice Tilly. not a prurient taboo. respectively]. where he made a more meaningful impact as an art director. in order to underscore a human element—or to give the girls “a smell.” Hefner wanted to present sex as a common occurrence.” states Hefner.” The initial version was a stag drawn by R. The notion of putting a rabbit in a tuxedo seemed kind of playful.” as the painter Richard Lindner once said about Playboy’s photography. So what I was trying to do was to make them real people and put them in a real setting so that the nudity meant something more. like a pipe or slippers. sexy. I began to do my own photographs.Hefner or Paul could not have predicted how world famous the rabbit would become. which he practiced in a minimalist and surrealist fashion. it was not a sex magazine per se. This included feature-page design and illustration. “I was trying to personalize it. “That’s why the classic pinup art prior to that. a natural setting that looked less like a calendar. Yet Paul argues that while sex was a significant part of the entire package. He saw Playboy more as a lifestyle magazine.” From the outset Playboy touched nerves. the rabbit has hoofs. This was accomplished by doing photographs exclusively for the magazine. So the notion of having an animal as a male symbol was a nice variation on the theme. Arthur played a role but the concept was mine. Hef is in the background in a tuxedo with his back turned. But Paul insists that he was less interested in nudes than the other aspects of the magazine. a large number of men (and an untold number of adolescent boys) flocked to the sign of the bunny. Despite the predictable moral outrage in certain quarters.” says Hefner.” He admired both Norman Rockwell and Michelangelo but 177 . or as the subtitle said. Playboy’s subscription manager. Miller. and sophisticated.” Paul’s contribution to the photography was to inject simple male-oriented objects. it was a projection of sexuality. who oversaw all the early photo sessions.
1976). I never liked the way schools refused to place the so-called high and low art under the same roof.G. And Paul frequently published (and boosted the careers of) many top commercial illustrators. not just situations. pop art. Don Ivan Punchatz.” wrote Wodehouse. Robert Weaver. Hefner notes that. One such about Brad Holland’s drawings for a humor piece by P. 1978). The marriage of the commercial and noncommercial artists’ work gave Playboy a uniquely progressive edge among most publications at the time. though. “Art of Playboy: From the First 25 Years” (Playboy. in their art and to work with various materials to create these moods.” When he became art director of Playboy. “To implement a closer relationship between ‘high’ and ‘low’ arts. my Gawd!. Paul had a plan to change the prevailing view. “I hoped to free myself from early concepts of the literal illustration and to commission pictures that needed no captions: I asked the commercial illustrators to create moods.” Paul further commissioned “fine” artists to do what came naturally to them.” As Paul became more professionally attuned. Yet the art was not ad hoc. Andy Warhol did almost the opposite of that: He took commercial art and turned it into fine art. and we took fine art and turned it into commercial art. and drawing from surrealist. often forsaking painting for a construction or a collage or a photo-art combination. “I felt that both the fine artist and commercial illustrator had their lasting qualities. Playboy authors were invited to comment on the illustrations that accompanied their own articles. “While we were doing and after we did this. and the art played a truly supplementary role that earned the respect of reader and writer alike. and Karl Wirsum. Cliff Condak.” Paul noted in the catalog for “Playboy Illustration” (Alberta College of Art Gallery. Ed Paschke. and Tomi Ungerer. Roger Brown. Paul provided tight layouts and parameters wherein the illustrator had to work. reasoning that “fine artists like Michelangelo were in dusty art history books but the commercial illustrators like Norman Rockwell were on the shiny new covers of the Saturday Evening Post. he was increasingly perturbed by the distinctions made by critics between fine and applied art.admits a preference for the former.” Playboy art was resolutely eclectic. I asked them to be more personal in their work. With these confines. “My initial reaction was a startled ‘Oh. ranging from minimalist to maximalist. George Segal. It annoyed me to think that illustration art was considered a lesser form of expression because it was paid for by a publisher instead of the Church of Rome. Alfred Leslie. and post-pop schools.’ but gradually the sensation that I had 178 . Tom Wesselman. Wodehouse was typical: “I find it rather difficult to pin down my feelings about those illustrations to my ‘Domestic Servant’ piece. freedom was granted. Brad Holland. Larry Rivers. The fine art alumni included such known painters and sculptors as Salvador Dalí. including Paul Davis. to name a few of the artists from the more than three thousand illustrations Paul had commissioned. offer personal interpretations. which reduced illustration to uninspired formulas. James Rosenquist. In the catalog.
and other surprising inserts. but they broke as news—for example.” which involved artwork in various forms and shapes printed as die cuts. Hefner titillated through Playboy’s photography (which often presented women in the same stylistic guise as cars and mixed drinks) and educated through articles that addressed societal issues and the comedie humaine. or. The nineties was known for experimental tomfoolery but during the sixties and seventies Paul was in the forefront with his experimental use of artwork and paper effects. he was very willing to spend quite a bit of money on it. allowed for numerous variations and surprises. slip sheets.” For Hefner the benefits were all his: “My relationship with Art was a postgraduate course for me in art and design. For many. Paul wanted an illustration to do more than lie on a flat surface. however. when the women’s liberation movement began raising consciousness.” Paul says about the promises made to him. or shifting perspectives. President Jimmy Carter’s candid “lust in my heart” response to a question about whether he had ever physically cheated on his wife. although based on a strict grid. Playboy was viewed as contraband for what in today’s media environment would be described as no-core pornography. Like them. I was brought up in the school of the Stand Magazine and the old Saturday Evening Post. which doubtless has had an influence on today’s magazines. but showed that even Presidents had male fantasies. a short-lived fifties men’s style magazine. but I am not sure I don’t like this modern impressionist stuff better. and political figures. were great influences.” To support these ambitious special effects. where illustrations illustrated. One of the few magazines Paul emulated was Fleur Cowles’s Flair. like an advent calendar. which employed ambitious die cuts to enhance editorial content. and now I like them very much. Which is why Paul believed that good art and design was one way to imbue the magazine with a 179 .” Another innovative contribution was the manner in which he used illustration as “participatory graphics. Hefner does. Playboy offered a more balanced cultural diet. so he employed cinematic narratives using fold-outs and fold-overs to either give the illusion of motion. argue that in addition to affixing cottontails and rabbit ears on fetching women. In the fifties and sixties. Playboy published exemplary writing and in-depth interviews with cultural. Yet to separate Paul’s design from the effects of Playboy’s overall message is to ignore an important part of the story. the sign of the bunny continues to represent the objectification of women that perpetuated an unhealthy attitude and contributed to their exploitation until the sixties. Hefner concurs that Flair and also Gentry. certain of the “Playboy Interviews” not only broke barriers.been slapped between the eyes with a wet fish waned. including a wealth of contoured type treatments and other typoimage experiments. reveal hidden messages. social. Indeed Playboy overtly encouraged sexist attitudes toward women for years to follow. which caused a furor at the time. “I didn’t misjudge Hef in that area at all. “because when I came up with ideas like that. Paul developed a feature-article format that.
When he was asked to speak about his design at the AIGA Conference in Chicago in 1991. I got to the point where there was nothing more that I would be allowed to push. take some photographs himself that were much more artful.certain kind of legitimacy. Hefner. Speaking about his role in developing the Playboy stereotype of plastic women Paul admits. notably Christie Hefner. “The editorial concept and design of the magazine. who now devotes himself to painting. an argument that continues to ignite debate.” Paul. and I either didn’t know how to do it. During the thirty years of Paul’s tenure.” He did. such as Rogue. and perhaps led them to realize that Playboy was not concerned with sexploitation alone. and who was now one of the cost-cutters. Swank. “But as far as the magazine was concerned.” he says. I wanted strong images. but Hefner insisted on making accommodations. but a forum that demolished both artistic and cultural boundaries. If he had not already taken the magazine as far as he could by that time. and was impetus for his decision to retire. “I didn’t have any guilt feelings about it. Hefner’s daughter. who earlier had worked for a couple of years as a summer intern in the art department. gave opportunities to designers and illustrators (some of them women) that were not available in other media. Paul’s legacy is not just a sexploitative bunny. So Paul told him.” Playboy Enterprises was hiring a lot of new executives. heard about Paul’s plan to leave.” In the final analysis. But I thought it could be much better. Paul’s job was to integrate the editorial and pictorial in such a way that the reader did not experience disruption from one realm of content to another. however. I was not that connected with it at all.” he says. 180 . the ever-constricting corporate bottom line was infringing on his creative work. which had the dubious effect of sanctioning the sexism within. is still something of a controversial figure. with the magazine being only one piece of the empire. was and continues to be defined by Arthur Paul. and helped establish their reputations. a few women designers protested on the grounds that Playboy created negative stereotypes and false notions of beauty. They claimed that Paul was complicitous in his role as art director. Paul really wanted to paint (and subsequently had a few gallery shows of his work). Playboy grew into a major entertainment corporation. “Because. “I wanted to leave the magazine two or three years before I did. though. or didn’t have the people who knew how to do it. and Cavalier. Yet even Playboy’s imitators. “I couldn’t stand Playboy’s TV ads. “But I was also concerned about being sensual. For in the fifties and sixties many of the most editorially progressive periodicals included sexual material. and asked him what he would want to stay on.” Nonetheless. even though it has evolved since the seventies. like one of a nude foot with a high heel dangling off the end of it. “Ultimately. who had left Chicago for Los Angeles. Hefner insists that today. Yet such criticism must be measured. Playboy merely raised the level of the pinup a few notches. which he describes as “designy nudes”— portions of bodies.” Paul found it “interesting” for a while. At the same time he also pushed the limits of visual art. and to appease me he let me do ads.
wine journals. For Martha Stewart. Martha Stewart—with her loyal staff of editors. But most devastating was the fate of the good things she had created. or fruits. and unwonted. Her crime—allegedly lying to the government about a shady stock sale—had been minor. citrus coolers. rickrack borders. making whimsical word-and-picture arrangements the same way she had decorated buffet tables or designed centerpieces for wedding receptions. Weddings. and designers—kept arranging and re-arranging words and images on the pages of her magazines (Martha Stewart Living. Everyday Food) and catalogues. Over the next decade. party favors. flowers. trumpet vases. Things she would christen “good things” by naming them with that uncanny flair for words that was as much part of her genius as her ability to make a perfect raspberry-swirl cheesecake or turn a garden gate into a headboard. sugar flowers. stylists. Kids. inventorying in the process every household object. the end was cruel. she was able to translate this talent on paper.Mind Over Emotions: Martha Stewart Living ’s Secret Codes Véronique Vienne On the cover of her magazines. Martha became the patron saint of small things. and every kitchen implement known to man and woman. What would happen to the flower seed packets. swift. ribbons. marshmallow snowflakes. every product. all good things must come to an end. cranberry wreaths. “an autumn river party / halloween lanterns / the evolution of tables / making bread / organizing recipes / marzipan” “lilacs / lunch in harlem / wine 101 / personal stationery / shelves / wreaths & garlands” “canopies / perfect burgers / backpacking in Wyoming / arranging flowers / low-fat frozen desserts / berries” A caterer by profession. The sentence—a four-month prison term—was unexpected. baguette flatware. every decorative item. Things like buckwheat pillows. though. Stewart knew how to create memorable table settings or bouquets with a few simple things—found objects. and miniature cupcakes. 181 . cinnamon candles. taffy twigs. it amounted to nothing less than the full compilation of every American domestic fantasy at the end of the twentieth century. When she became a magazine editor in the early 1990s. leaf tags. Eventually. Martha Stewart could turn a short list of words into a Dada poem on a par with one by André Breton. pet gifts. Babies. A monumental undertaking in hindsight.
Martha Stewart’s decidedly secular approach is what got her in trouble as well. the most famous of all encyclopedists. As such. were the only permissible forms of engagement. as one would expect from a mass-market publication targeting women. Because they attempt to create complete systems of learning. Never any imperatives. Gerunds. editor and contributor of the Encyclopédie (first published in 1751). nesting. conducted with no-nonsense precision. was also convicted and sent to jail for three months. encyclopedias are ambitious projects that are inevitably skewed. her media empire. French philosopher Denis Diderot. one that promoted tolerance and open-mindedness over faith and religion. Instead of using expressive coverlines.” as the encyclopedia was also called. wrapping. She perfected this dispassionate style on the covers of her magazine in the mid-1990s. Impatient with all foibles—notably with the foibles of her employees—she had garnered a reputation of being a harsh perfectionist. arranging. she eschewed all calls to action. growing. entertaining. with words like stuffing. but her implicit assumptions about the “good things” she had championed. and decorating repeatedly used as nouns. made no room for human errors. Coincidentally. grammatical constructions that indicate that the action is uncompleted. organizing. In the controlled universe of Martha Stewart Living. During this period. and the pinecone garlands she had helped turn into cultural icons? Encyclopedic endeavors like the compendium Martha Stewart had unwittingly assembled have always been fraught with controversy. she practiced amazing linguistic restraint at the newsstand. was considered a daring expression of materialist atheism. 182 .the ribbon organizers. She was so intent on minimizing excitement that she never encouraged readers to do anything—even though the magazine was supposed to profess a do-it-yourself approach. What offended most people about her were not her coy views on domesticity (as annoying as they were at times). they generate differences of opinion and elicit criticisms from both lay people and experts. His crime? To uphold in his writing a secular approach. There were never any verbs on the covers. in what was the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. Her how-to tutorials. Martha’s distrust of sentimentality was probably her greatest originality—a critical factor in her downfall. her reliance on alleged facts rather than contextual perceptions further damaged her case. everything seems to happen in slow motion. painting. This is the reason Martha Stewart was not universally popular—and was harshly judged by the members of the jury who eventually convicted her. Nothing stated in the declarative form. Like the eighteenth-century French intellectuals who penned the Encyclopédie. During her trial. but also the reason for the success of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. In the mideighteenth century. a “rational dictionary. encouraging her readers and television viewers to embrace a methodical rather than a spiritual approach. she too promoted reason above emotions. carving. Today.
coverlines never again exhorted readers to take initiatives—at least. she 183 . jubilant. I wondered? Is she buckling under pressure from investors who want her to relinquish some of her authority and “empower” her readers instead? I had always admired Martha Stewart’s flawless determination to keep total control over her product. Shadows only serve to give more weight to a pinecone or more depth to a table setting. In subsequent issues. While other large-circulation women’s magazines dole out what they call “service”—advice. Nothing distracting is ever added. Photographs in MSL all captured things with the same clarity and precision as the etchings done centuries ago for the first encyclopedias. is used sparingly to emphasize the creamy quality of a custard or the frostiness of a porcelain dish. Keeping the lid on emotions was a palette of subdued colors dominated by hypnotic pastel tones. Showing a genuine understanding of the deep insecurities that motivate shoppers to spend an extra $4. Martha’s way with images had become as persuasive as her way with words. and thus did not create any undue anxiety. in December 1990. The photographs were not illustrations. which was to create month after month a visual glossary of the contemplative pleasures of deferred domesticity. a soothing greenish hue. they were documents showing the weave of a fabric. Martha focused her attention back again on what she did best. Once. the archetypal Martha Stewart color. the texture of a fruit. she worships facts.75 at the checkout counter for an issue of her magazine. Completely absorbed into the material world. it’s all about information. The woman knew exactly what she was doing and why. not to my knowledge. I was relieved to find out that the “empowering” experiment was shortlived. added a note of placidity to the already cool overall picture. the “Make it yourself ” admonition on the cover marked a drastic departure from the magazine’s initial editorial position—one that proclaimed that Martha Stewart was the only person who had the authority to make anything happen. the temperature of a liquid. and concise epiphanies that did not require any personal initiative. and tips—she refuses to talk down to her readers and viewers. More often than not. in the May 1999 issue. What? Is Martha tampering with her message. pointers. small facts. I noticed a verb in the active voice on the cover of the magazine. tidy. Direct. In my estimation. the weight of an object. Since her first issue of the magazine. A signature Martha Stewart photograph today is one where the lens faithfully translates every nuance of the thing it scrutinizes. Artistic blur. She gave her audience small.Featuring minimal word collages in the surrealist manner—“magnolias / foraging / egg decorations / furniture screens / a greek easter dinner”—the magazine covers also made a minimal use of color. For Martha Stewart. an early MSL trademark now copied by every publication. the sharpness of a tool—and the fragility of a moment of fleeting perfection. Though it was a discreet “Make it yourself ” next to a photograph of an ice cream sandwich. Over the years. virtuosic information. I was startled.
she forgot that she was human. She built her empire on things—on good things. But “liking people. And she has done all of that without ever being maudlin or sentimental. as determined as ever to teach women the proper way to bake cookies. Every holiday celebration.has anthologized every single American episode having to do with hearth and home. 184 . “I really like people.” she might find out. After five months in jail in a West Virginia prison. real or not.” she was compelled to add. In the end. Every good thing. Every family event. she was back at work. though. yet vowing that she would no longer lecture anyone in quite the same pedantic fashion. Every nostalgic memory. She could not imagine that she might one day lose it all to a single instant of bad judgment. is a lot less rewarding than liking the small things in life. Every small ritual.
New York City was for modern art direction what Paris was for modern art at the turn of the century: a wellspring of unrivaled invention. wed to intelligent illustration and photography. self-mockery. moreover.” the role that heralded the shift from art service to visual communications. Along this traffic-congested boulevard. Manhattan was. or the business to support it.”1 Characterized by clean design and strident copywriting. In New York scores of art directors had commanding positions at ad agencies and magazine publishers. Neither Chicago nor Los Angeles had the same critical mass of talent. the birthplace of the “creative.11: Who Remembers the Good Old Days? New York in the Fifties: When Madison Avenue Was Montparnasse Steven Heller During the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s. The Big Idea was an expression of the unparalleled creative liberation that was later dubbed the “Creative Revolution”2 and inaugurated the shift from hard sell to smart sell in advertising and publishing. In 1960 ad man William Pensyl termed this “The Big Idea. where they not only made an impact on their respective products but also influenced the entire field. Madison Avenue was Manhattan’s Montparnasse. and irony. 185 . “creatives” working in glass and stone skyscrapers changed the look and feel of advertising and magazines through an acute conceptual strategy characterized by understatement.
in the building that housed the Columbia Broadcasting System before “Black Rock” was built in TK. was headquartered the Art Directors Club of New York. who pioneered modern magazine design). 1932) at Papert Lois Koenig. and Bob Gadge at Doyle Dane Bernbach. 1918). They also judged the work for the annual competitions that celebrated and recorded the art directorial achievement that set contemporary standards. Within a few blocks of this locale worked other equally influential art directors: Alexey Brodovitch (1898–1971) at Harper’s Bazaar. The term art director gained currency a short time before the Art Directors Club began monitoring the achievements of New York’s advertising and magazine profession in 1920. Apparel Arts. where Paul Rand (1914–1996) was art director from 1941 to 1954. from rococo decoration by luminaries like Thomas Maitland Cleland to comicstrip advertisements by anonymous bullpen boardmen at J. F. attracted an exclusive membership of advertising and magazine art directors who came from blocks around to share—or more likely boast about—their big ideas. Gentleman’s Quarterly. Each with a distinctive signature and methodology. 1918) produced identity and advertising campaigns that altered the paradigm of corporate and institutional practice. Cipe Pineles (1910–1992) at Charm. Otto Storch (1913–2001) at McCall’s. where art directors William Golden (1911–1959) and later Lou Dorfsman (b. and Herb Lubalin (1918–1981) at Sudler & Hennessey—to name a few. Gene Federico (b. and Art Kane (b. Henry Wolf (b. the art 186 . This professional arena. Leo Lionni (1910–1999) at Fortune. For at the top. in a windowed penthouse overlooking “Madvertising” Avenue. The club exhibited a mix. TK) at Seventeen. Agha (1896–1978) at Vanity Fair and Vogue. But 488 was not an island. and designer all rolled into one. Helmut Krone (1925–1996). Beginning in the late 1940s. the Art Directors Club was the epicenter for the men (and the few women) who became the legends of New York art direction. was home to the premier corporate design department in America. Steve Frankfurt (b. some of the most significant art directors worked within elevator distance of one another: Alan Hurlburt (1910–1983) at Look. 1925) at Esquire. George Lois (b. Walter Thompson agency. Esquire. 488 Madison Avenue. With a few notable exceptions (such as M. Like the bohemian cafes of Paris’s Left Bank. was the nerve center of this transfiguration. some of the most influential media in America were also headquartered at 488 Madison—Look. By the mid-1950s. one flight of stairs above the reach of the elevators. editor. But prior to 1950 its competitions focused more on the artists and agencies than the art directors themselves. Across the street. 1931) at Young & Rubicam.One building in particular. The job of “art supervisor” dates back to the turn of the century when its influence on advertising and magazines was comparatively inconsequential. they were the first “auteurs” of graphic design to define the role of the modern art director as manager. and Seventeen—as well as Raymond Loewy’s industrial design office and the innovative Weintraub Advertising Agency. founded in 1920.
the account executive and editor. however. in the Art Directors Club annual. It was a close-knit gentleman’s club. Although the advertising and publishing industry’s hierarchy was elite. At that time. the names Paul Rand. “What went before was pretty dull. who began his own lengthy career designing exposition displays. Their designs bore a visual signature that both framed and distinguished their respective products. William Golden. Will Burtin. the leaders of mainstream American business. Secondary schools like Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn and the High School of 187 . when a generation of young modernisminspired artists and designers aggressively sought to change the nature of American practice. At the pinnacle were. by the turn of the century. who for the most part were ivy-league educated and belonged to the dominant social and economic class. As a symbol of pending change.” recalls Gene Federico. So it was in this unique socio-cultural environment that the seeds of the Creative Revolution were planted. and Alexey Brodovitch were associated with work that rejected the vulgar conventions of commercial practice for subtle and ironic imagery and economical type and layout. and commercial art was a fertile profession especially suited to New Yorkers of immigrant backgrounds. but the shift was not fully realized until the postwar years. The juried Art Directors Club annuals published between the 1920s and 1940s reveal that art directors slowly gained real stature in the late 1930s. they hired artists who were first-generation Italian and Jewish Americans. they made advertising and editorial decisions that catered to the biases of their fellows. New York was the proverbial melting pot of European immigrants.” says Lou Dorfsman. in addition to the three Rs. They also became representatives of a new genus: the art director/designer. respectively.” Advertising and magazine publishing were traditionally exclusive professions. However. the children of these immigrants comprised the majority in the New York City public schools. who began his agency career in the late 1930s and made his own splash as an advertising art director at Doyle Dane Bernbach in the early 1950s.3 but it was well over a decade until the Creative Revolution took hold. Lester Beall. and by the mid-1930s. so it wasn’t difficult to make a splash. The shift began in the late 1930s. Advertising and publishing had virtually ignored the nuances of good design in the modern sense. As molders of popular taste. “They were accepted as artists who understood marketing. the curriculum emphasized skills that would propel students into viable jobs.director was a company middleman following copywriters and taking direction from account executives or editors rather than a creative who molded the identity of his or her campaign or publication. the name of America’s premier commercial art magazine was changed in 1940 from PM (“Production Manager”) to AD (“Art Director”). By 1937. “Clients began to recognize that these guys were not just sign painters. though it gave lip service to the New Typography through flagrant applications of asymmetrical styles and modernistic conceits.
and the Cooper Union (and in the late forties and early fifties Alexey Brodovitch taught a class in magazine design at the New School for Social Research). they devoured the comics and comic books. “Jews became copywriters and Italians became art directors. and therefore more ironic. Frederic Goudy. “Our generation was fresher. the Art Students League. the son of Italian 188 . (He himself was influenced by Paul Rand when they worked together at the Weintraub Agency in the forties. Updike. both in Manhattan. illustration. and E. “When the mask of suburban conformism was ripped away and America became aware of its ethnic diversity. wittier. But he is correct about the influx of brash. that were kept in the school libraries).” adds Tony Palladino (b. A. ethnic “neighborhood” kids who refused to see the world. They developed a passion for American popular culture. or directly entered the profession.” wrote Lawrence Dobrow in When Advertising Tried Harder. aloof media professionals had since the turn of the century. and typography that combined the teaching of Bauhausian form with mass-advertising and publishing techniques. The models for these students were not the fine printer/designers D. Bronx. and many of them dabbled in jazz and other popular music forms as a way of reconciling their ethnic heritages and American lives. . in the same way that the entrenched. A. the co-founder in 1949 of Doyle Dane Bernbach. starting out in the lower echelons. Cassandre. Dwiggins.” And so the upheaval was beginning.” recalls Gene Federico about the conventional advertising that he refers to as “different sized boxes on a page. M. more sarcastic. advertising. Those who chose commercial art sought more financial security—the Depression saw to that— but intuited that there was a potential for creative opportunity as well.” generalizes Lou Dorfsman in a statement that is disproved by his own career as an art director. offered courses in posters. these virtual outsiders were psychologically driven to enter the mainstream. “We were itchy.) Raised during the Great Depression. . it meant major changes . So when these children of the melting pot came of age. such as Gebrausgrafik and Commercial Art. McKnight Kauffer (all of whom were featured in the European design magazines. From this number many eventually advanced into jobs as copywriters and art directors. Lucian Bernhard. they left their ethnic neighborhoods in Brooklyn. or more precisely the marketplace. Queens. 1930).Music and Art and the High School of Industrial Arts. The Creative Revolution began when the Jews and Italians assumed influential positions at agencies. B. and the Lower East Side of Manhattan and either by happenstance or design created a beachhead on Madison Avenue. Many of the graduates either continued their education at art schools like Pratt Institute. Parsons School of Design. . or W. who popularized the creative team and encouraged radical changes in fifties advertising. but on their own terms. but masters of publicity. we couldn’t stand all that old stuff. influenced in no small measure by the leadership of William Bernbach (1911–1982).
Indicative of this newly realized power. 1970). the collected Volkswagen ads summarized advancements in graphic design dating back to the Bauhaus. So the art director rose in stature in the fifties in large part due to a personal drive. became presidents. ‘This is where the changeover began.’” explains Gene Federico about the shift away from formulaic layout. not even a period. many. or what we call ‘design.. wed copywriters and art directors to a common goal. and a few. Art directors were required to act aggressively in all creative decisions. particularly automobile advertising. Although it was not the first ad to be “designed. In addition to their unrivaled sales appeal. “In the beginning.” In advertising.e. not a job. like Herb Lubalin. As a reaction to the grey-flannelled hucksterism of the past. “It was a better use of space.” per se. like George Lois and Steven Frankfurt. American desire to make change. and art direction was so totally intertwined with writing and design that where one left off and the other began was irrelevant. Nothing was extraneous. This was a calling.immigrants who graduated from the High School of Music and Art in the late forties and by the 1960s had become an advertising and editorial art director/designer. European affinity. 189 . were anointed as vice presidents. And yet it was not cold like the Swiss method. “That’s the first campaign which everyone can trace back and say. art direction was elevated beyond the board and into the boardroom. Owing to this campaign.” wrote adman Jerry Della Femina in his memoir From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor (Simon & Schuster. “We had an old world.’” At a time when advertising. George Lois once noted the irony in the fact that this campaign not only pitched a tiny car in a market of behemoths. but even more important because creative teams. but a new world. Creatives entered the vanguard of “the new advertising. this was the first time that an ad rejected pretense and hyperbole in word and picture. the new advertising men believed in the avant-garde (i. pioneered by Bernbach. preemptive attention to a flaw in a product) redirected the perceptions of an entire consumer class from the notion that big is beautiful—and American—to small is wonderful—even if it’s German. there was Volkswagen. it was a Nazi car to boot. change was measured by the quality of ideas and the eloquence of execution. It was selling at its most subtle and subversive because the Volkswagen campaign (which included the famous “Lemon” ad. it was the first design of a national ad to reveal a decidedly American phase of modern thinking rooted in both economy and irony.” a headline written by copywriter Julian Koenig that inspired art director Helmut Krone’s 1959 Volkswagen campaign for Doyle Dane Bernbach. The anthem of the Big Idea was the phrase “Think Small.” while nuts and bolts business matters were left to their Harvardeducated colleagues. which was the first time a pitch drew ironic. idolized mythic perfection. futurist) notion that advertising could change the world. art directors’ names were added to agency titles.
in fact comparatively few. president and editor of Look magazine. F. In the late 1920s. .” says Milton Glaser (b. I’m convinced that in the years ahead the art director will play an even more important role than he does right now. Agha’s introduction of sans serif. from formulation of editorial ideas to the production methods by which the magazine is printed. but transformed 190 .” The most adventuresome art directors deviated from the norms—broke the rules of type and image. the “White Russian” designer who worked for Deberny & Peignot in Paris. was brought to New York. “Good Design” became a sort of mantra. full-page pictures. Turkish born M.In the early fifties. but both reached their zenith around the same time. and generously undecorated page margins proved that magazine design was more than a printer’s afterthought. Soon the followers were doing work on a par with the leaders. who co-founded Push Pin Studio in 1955 and worked with many of the leading art directors of the epoch. like Agha. Agha. in Art Directing (Hastings House. had “taken the bait. Magazine art directors aspired to “good design” before their advertising counterparts did.” But by the mid-fifties clients and advertising executives saw that the new advertising made quantifiable differences in sales. 1929). And among the soldiers of the Creative Revolution it was the prevailing belief that utility and effectiveness could be wed to a concern for order and beauty. Agha further laid the groundwork for art direction in the fifties.” Magazine art direction was slightly more genteel than advertising. a freezing of convention as breakthroughs in one area influenced those in others. “It was a time when doing unconventional things had a tremendous effect. and its pioneers. the older immigrants led the way. . From the Bauhaus came the idea that it was not important to distinguish between functionality and beauty.” wrote Gardner Cowles. he not only streamlined the look of the venerable Harper’s Bazaar. In magazine publishing. Federico points out that not all clients. who designed Paris Vogue for Condé Nast. Those who prefigured the Creative Revolution in magazines but profoundly influenced it were: Alexey Brodovitch. From the street developed the idea that the mass could be won over by intelligence. “It suggested something to aspire to. lowercase headlines. Today’s magazine art director plays a major part in the publication structure. “It was the beginning of the era of possibilities. where he transformed Vanity Fair (under the editorial leadership of Frank Crowninshield) from a conventionally designed upper-crust magazine into an epitome of urbanity. 1959). were the aristocrats of commercial art. “He is no longer just a planner of illustrations and a liaison between the editor and artist. [T]he art director has come to play an increasingly important role in the editorial concept of modern magazines. resulting in a veritable chain reaction. “. . and one person could influence thousands. rejected the hegemony of sentimental illustration—and triggered others to do so. . They set standards in the forties that held sway into the sixties.” continues Glaser. .
“Today’s art director [is an] architect of the printed page. and most importantly applied “big ideas” to editorial design. Russian-born Alexander Liberman (1912–1999). By the early to mid-fifties younger magazine art directors enthusiastically followed their mentors and made further inroads. In the magazine field. a young Austrian immigrant. and with self-assurance and authority they promoted new approaches to type and image. magazines were the creative wellsprings. Burtin. In the fifties. Austrian-born Cipe Pineles. Some art directors argue that the introduction of photography and fine art in magazines had a critical influence on advertising art direction because they tested the terrain. with Charm. introduced fragmented collage as illustration. One of the most progressive of this generation was Esquire’s art director from 1953 to 1958.” Hurlburt understood dramatic pacing and knew how to integrate 191 . Lionni. then its roots must be traced to magazines. He perfected the narrative picture essay. who transformed a starchy gentleman’s fashion monthly into a creative environment for photographers and illustrators. but until Hurlburt began as art director it remained in Life’s shadow. Henry Wolf. Esquire’s art director from 1964 to 1968. Italian-educated (with a doctorate in economics) Leo Lionni succeeded Burtin and pushed Fortune even further into realms of the classically contemporaneous. epitomized Gardner Cowles’s definition of the editor/designer. helped define an entirely new teenage market through her art direction of Seventeen in the late forties. harnessed negative space. more than a year after Life premiered. W. in The 31st Annual of National Advertising and Editorial Art. Look’s art director from 1953 to 1968. who learned from Paul Rand at Weintraub. Yet they were not brazenly experimental in the avant-garde sense. Their structures were built on firm principles. Ayer. Allan Hurlburt.” wrote Charles Coiner. and designed conceptual covers that stood without headlines. Austrian born Will Burtin modernized the classically elegant Fortune by introducing a highly sophisticated approach to information graphics. who assisted Agha at Vogue in the late 1930s. “Look had great photographs and was brilliantly designed. Look appeared in January 1937. art director of N. Finally. she defined a print environment for young working women by introducing them to urbane art and illustration. before television made huge inroads. in addition to promoting fine artists as visual journalists. Pinelas. and Liberman were among the key architects.fashion-magazine content by introducing conceptual photography as an alternative to conventional illustration. Brodovitch. he redefined the nature of magazine-cover design by inventing the two-tiered image (different illustrations above and below the masthead referring to different themes in the magazine). the designer of Paris VU. The Dutch-born.” argues Sam Antupit. followed the lead of Brodovitch by modernizing Vogue through fine conceptual photography. “Life had great pictures but no design. and from 1950 to 1958. And if conceptual photography is the benchmark of what Gardner Cowles called the “Pictorial Era” of the Creative Revolution.
“American advertising was the only game in town. Bradbury Thompson (1911–1996) brought clean classicism to Mademoiselle from 1945 to 1959. who took Brodovitch’s class at the New School. photographer. and three assistants—were sent to photograph Audrey Hepburn at the Paris collections.” says Milton Glaser. art and photography fees were low compared to advertising. Wolf points out that the photographers he used at Esquire were often subsequently hired for large ad campaigns. Each component was in harmony and evoked both a sense of beauty and of meaning. In addition to common aesthetics. who later earned fame as a photographer. Of course. but the dominant methods of advertising and magazine design had much in common. continuous runs of many editorial pages that allowed them to establish visual narratives and to kinetically pace the stories. As Glaser further notes. conceptual illustration.” says Lou Dorfsman. According to Jerry Della Femina. Money was indeed available to finance Big Ideas. At top magazines like Esquire.000 a year (the equivalent to three or four times that amount in today’s currency). He designed a magazine of ideas and other art directors added their own styles and dialects to this unique era: Otto Storch. This was the era when magazine art directors enjoyed the uninterrupted. money was the glue that held this epoch of art direction together. the ambient art directorial vocabulary.expressive typography to complement the pictorial narrative. And Sam Antupit adds that he frequently discussed the design of his opening editorial pages with agency art 192 . Federico concurs that admen looked to Esquire and Look for visual inspiration. “The magazines were flush with ads and they spared no expense in giving art directors license to send photographers and illustrators around. gave his version of Seventeen a typographic and photographic urbanity unknown in today’s “teenage” magazines. stylist. there was a creative symbiosis between advertising and editorial art direction. Browse through any Art Directors Club annuals between 1955 and 1965 and the Big Idea in advertising and magazine art direction comes into clear focus. and Wolf recalls when he succeeded Brodovitch in 1958 as art director of Harper’s Bazaar that he and six other staff members—an editor. “This was a period when expression of an idea was more enduring than style. “the showcase was worth a million bucks.” Although magazine art directors deny that advertising influenced editorial design. and certain design biases are celebrated over others that may have existed at the time. the selected pages and spreads in these annuals are taken out of context. and Art Kane. advertising art directors commanded upwards of $50. New York’s art directors formed a comparatively small community and the common language. adhered to a basic syntax: classically modern or expressively eclectic typography. but as Wolf notes.” adds Henry Wolf. and both narrative and abstract photography wed to the word. was art director at McCall’s from 1953–1967 and introduced a Victorian typographic sensibility that prefigured postmodernism.
print began to run afoul of television. and are replaced by other methods. As the great magazines began to falter. The golden age of art direction ended and with it went the purity of the Big Idea. With the same speed that the Creative Revolution had hit. “and steadily toward a more scientific approach in the art of communicating ideas . they are no longer big ideas. it ran out of steam.’” pronounced the Art Directors Club of New York in the introduction of its 1953 annual. As advertising art directors began turning their attention and ambitions toward commercials. He still fights in the fundamental battle of his trade—good taste versus ‘buckey’—and occasionally writhing in the toils of that effort. as we now define his job. the work celebrated by the Art Directors Club proved to a significant segment of American business that shrill hawking and commondenominator thinking was not necessary to sell wares or present ideas. Nevertheless. “I left Harper’s Bazaar when I could not get thirty consecutive pages in the editorial well. . Advertising veered further away from magazine art direction. magazine art directors began to feel their own celebrity subside. like the dream of reason. even taste. cut with imagination.” asserts Henry Wolf. Advertising and magazine art direction provided vivid examples of how elegance and wit. or at least further down the masthead. produced its own share of madness. “Everything came to an end in the late sixties and seventies. “[T]he art director has made tangible and practical contributions to the advancement of good taste . rather as indicative of the devolution of the magazines as a prime medium and of the art director as its visual impresario. It was impossible to maintain revolutionary fervor over a long period of time. 193 . and magazine art direction on the whole became more service oriented. could alter mass perceptions. such as George Lois’s acerbic Esquire covers in the late sixties. . there was also widespread deflation as a result of formulaic solutions. . “Publishers wanted to make money rather than have beautiful magazines. When big ideas became predictable. This should not be taken as nostalgic hyperbole. the influence of the Creative Revolution. . Art direction further influenced a broader visual culture: “The art director. in this country. art directors were responsible for a large proportion of how and what Americans consumed.” wrote Walter O’Meara in The 31st Annual of Advertising and Editorial Art. the Big Idea had become a placebo for many advertising and magazine art directors. he shows signs of schizophrenia when he must decide whether to decorate or communicate. Even the most radical ideas eventually lose stridency. but had their own integrity.” boasts Henry Wolf.” Or more accurately. Whatever that slippery thing is called taste.directors before going to press.” Compared to the mass of visual effluvia. art directors fell from grace. Or at least mediocrity. has grown steadily away from his early predilection with decorative ‘effects. so their respective layouts would not conflict with each other. Although there were still some great big ideas. By the late sixties.
MacLeod.Notes 1. a daily newspaper. but the choice of the title AD was nevertheless consistent with changes in the profession. who says. What’s the Big Idea: How to Win With Outrageous Ideas That Sell (Doubleday. George Lois. the master of this method. used it in the title of his book. 194 . 1991). Although the original source of this term is unknown.” In 1991. 2. it appears in Print (May/June 1960) in a quote by adman William Pensyl of Ketchum. 3. The magazine had relinquished its original name to PM. “The big idea serves as the basis for all creative work. Grove. Although the term may have been used before. 1984). one authoritative reference is in the title of Lawrence Dobrow’s The 1950s and Madison Avenue: The Creative Revolution in Advertising (Friendly Press.
but they were also major contributors to the development of stories. Now things are tested to death. You might even say you were part of the golden age of sixties and seventies magazines.A Good Question: Does Experience Still Matter? A Conversation with Bob Ciano Steven Heller: You’ve been a magazine art director for many years and for many high-visibility magazines. what would need to change? BC: They could. Sketches are submitted and the art director doesn’t say yes or no or make some changes. but clichés do have a kernel of truth and this one does. You would think that editors would welcome another sensibility to shape the personality of the magazine. I am still a believer in [former Esquire editor] Arnold Gingrich’s belief that he wanted to produce the kind of magazine he wanted to receive in his mailbox. or Bradbury Thompson work in the current magazine environment? And if not. “I have to show it to the editor. how much of the magazine’s identity is in your hands alone? BC: Some. SH: Could an art director like Alexey Brodovitch. Very few magazines are shaped by the instinct and experience of the staff alone. but not much. What needs to change are two things: trust and partnership. The art directors I assisted when I first began had control of not only the look of their magazines. underlying that is a lack of trust. 195 . SH: As an art director. at least not currently. but they wouldn’t be able to achieve the heights they did. in your view. It’s become a cliché to say that the editor–art director relationship is like a marriage. art directors are just the intermediary between the artist—illustrator or photographer—and the editor. What has changed. What has changed is the increased influence of marketing and surveys. Leo Lionni. Editors need to trust their art directors more. but there also needs to be some autonomy in each area of expertise. since those days? Bob Ciano: What has changed is the editor–art director relationship: too often now. the art director usually says.” This is what’s changed: the lack of a mandate and a responsibility for the visual personality of the magazine. but that is not always the case. And. They need to stop suggesting visual solutions and they need to be less literal in their visual taste. after which there is very little vitality left. The editor and art director must be on the same wavelength.
Illustration by Peter Kramer. 196 .
197 . for unpublished redesigned dummy logo.Designer: Bob Ciano.
What has improved in magazine publishing and what has been lost? BC: Sorry. Also necessary is the ability to listen. but more important in my mind is that we be good journalists. and delight in knowing. And. We now can control all aspects of production. and although we might and do want to dazzle out peers. it takes time away from the “thinking” time that we had in the past when we weren’t responsible for production. computer skills. now not only think and design. that is secondary to reaching the reader in a meaningful way. No matter what the demographic model. as designers. our audience is not other designers. We are in a collaborative business and it’s important to listen to colleagues—both agreements and objections—and process those comments and convince them of the rightness of your position. we. page layout. as it is the language and grammar of our craft. What has improved is mostly in the way that we. and the history of our craft. as art directors. like teaching typography. Schools do have an important place in the process. that would be the best combination with formal schooling.SH: I don’t want to harp on the good old days. work. but not simply in the usual school setting. SH: What makes a successful magazine art director? BC: Vision and a plan on how to achieve it. I think it can be taught. With the siren of control in our ears. pleasure. no matter how fast an art director is at production. SH: How much does graphic design play in how effective an art director will be? BC: It plays a good part in making a good art director. However. I have come to believe that the advent of the computer-generated page has also been like a Trojan horse. but magazines have changed to meet new demographic models. As art directors. we are expected to do production. I think more can be learned by doing and if one can find and work with a mentor. to produce a magazine that gives the reader information. 198 . now or then. but I don’t think much has improved. SH: Do you believe that magazine art direction can be taught? Or is it something that is only acquired by experience? BC: Yes. the need is the same.
design director of Harry N.” says Sam Antupit. none of them know him. Zachary had created working conditions where the unexpected was expected. In fact. Abrams and former art director of Esquire.It’s a Wonderful Life: The Art of Being Frank Zachary Steven Heller In the classic 1946 film. the hero. George Bailey (played by James Stewart). without knowing him personally I decided to follow in his footsteps. He was the founding editor of the legendary Portfolio magazine. for which he was both art director and managing editor. today.” Working for Zachary did not necessarily insure fame and fortune (though many of his “discoveries” did do quite well) but resulted in something even more valuable. Zachary has worn many hats in publishing. art director. It was only many years later that I learned of Zachary’s extensive role not only in the development of this. Portfolio became the paradigm of what a modern graphic and industrial arts magazine should be. or shutter. one of the last great behemoth magazines. indeed disparate lives. Although he is in his hometown and knows the townspeople—his mother. brush. this writer first saw him listed as the art director of Holiday. but of his contributions to magazine publishing in general and art direction in particular. graphic designers. It’s a Wonderful Life. and neighbors—since he was never born. the short-lived journal of applied arts. wife. Zachary. is able to see what life would be like if he had never existed. and editor. brilliantly designed by Alexey Brodovitch. if not unknown. 199 . For almost fifty years. “The beauty of Frank’s work is that it never followed a single trend. And Holiday. if Frank Zachary had never been born (or at least had been in another profession) many esteemed photographers. advertising. was more than just a stunning travel magazine but a wellspring for photographer. I was inspired by the striking photography and witty illustration of this magazine and somehow intuited that Zachary had made it all happen.and illustrator-journalists who blazed trails in a field that was primarily dominated by decorative and mundane styles. He has been the quintessential. writers. the confidence to exercise self-expression. He learns that he had enriched their lives so much that bereft of his influence they lead very different. “Things that he initiated might have been copied [by other magazines] but they never approached his remarkable execution. the editor-in-chief of Town and Country magazine from 1979 until his retirement in 1996. Similarly. yet novelty was always eschewed. push conventions. and be more than just a pair of hired hands working a pen. More important. Without understanding the nature of either graphic design or art direction. and art directors would probably be less esteemed. behind-thescenes catalyst inspiring—and directing—talented people to do good work. friends. to the extent that I too wanted to be a magazine art director. and public relations as writer. illustrators. as a young boy in 1962. has prominently appeared on various mastheads.
but Scheetz had a curious success. 200 . Zachary was born in 1914. the Bulletin Index was a kind of precursor to the contemporary city magazine. Pennsylvania. particularly poetry. when in his native Pittsburgh. “With Frank the lines blur as to whether something should be executed visually or verbally. makeup. and published witty cartoons and mildly satiric articles. science fiction. because he needed a low-paid staff. the classic newsman’s camera. put in a yellow sheet of copy paper. Scheetz took to Zachary immediately. It covered debutante parties and golfing events.” he says. So in the end what you have is a concept where the verbal and the visual are inseparable. “His brilliance is that he says visually what should be an image and verbally what should be a word. Life. he had changed the magazine from its society orientation to one cast in the mold of Time. If an image is better expressed in words then he is not afraid to use the words. The Bulletin Index was like many small-city magazines of the day. and around 1937 [at age twenty-three] I became managing editor. sit down at his Underwood-5 typewriter. and layout man. and within months became the Bulletin Index’s local beat reporter. because he has always been that rare combination of editor and art director.” He quickly taught himself how to use the Speed Graphic. Predictably.” The inseparability of word and image—journalism and art—is rooted in a lifetime of activity dating back to his earliest jobs during the Depression. giving him a taste for life apart from the Bulletin Index. He’d come in every morning. For Zachary it was also a wonderful place to learn the trade. During his tough high school years he worked at all sorts of jobs “just to keep body and soul alive. B. But his love didn’t go unrequited for long. the son of Croatian immigrants. he is not a simple decorator. but a conceptualist with ideas as his bedrock. But he had a passion for writing. and had come to Pittsburgh from Philadelphia to salvage the ailing Pittsburgh Bulletin Index. the staff got bigger. and Fortune magazines. but more pragmatically.” continues Antupit. and write. though his efforts were rejected every time he tried to submit them to magazines. whose family had been prominent in the publishing house of J. As we began to prosper. “for O’Hara vicariously introduced me to the world of New York writing. In fact. if for no other reason than Scheetz hired novelist John O’Hara as editor.” In his off hours he was also the Pittsburgh stringer for Time.” says Zachary. and humor. owing in part to the boy’s talents. He is not a mere aestheticist. Before O’Hara left nine months later to write Appointment in Samarra. “He needed me alright. amidst the massive factories of this great steel town. but rather a storyteller and reporter in pictures and words. Lippincott Company.” Zachary recalls amusedly. he found his life’s work in magazines. At eighteen he got a job with Henry Scheetz. twirl it. as well as its chief copy boy. About an hour and a half later there was a perfectly typed and written short story for the New Yorker. “and I became the staff. most Depression-era magazines of this kind failed. “It was a break for me. which kept his spirits high.What differentiates Zachary from other great art directors is the word journalism.
government. although not as hostile as it has become. and I finally wound up. Minicam (which later became Modern 201 . who in turn taught Zachary to never settle for the commonplace. a pioneer of photojournalism who went on to found the Black Star photo agency. but while his colleagues batted them out. however.S. designers Tobias Moss and Bradbury Thompson. and brought over the first two Pandas from China to the Bronx Zoo. Grover Whelan. worked well into the night. Zachary was responsible for A&P press releases. In fact. Zachary and his friend Bill Bernbach (who later became an advertising kingpin) conceived and produced some of the Fair’s many imaginative theatrical publicity stunts. but his next job as a PR man for the 1939 New York World’s Fair.Zachary took a shine to a young journalist hired as the Bulletin Index’s society editor named Catherine Mehler (later to become Mrs. with the German émigré Kurt Safranski. he became closely acquainted with the Fair’s tireless promoter and organizing genius. convinced Zachary to pitch the idea of selling a network of regional magazines that he would edit. But it did.S. which became the OWI (Office of War Information). with contacts in publishing in Chicago and Cleveland. with a job at Carl Byoir’s public relations firm. so at its close Zachary was unemployed until hitching up as PR man for the United China Relief Fund. This work was not his métier. he took a job with the COI (Coordinator of Information). but just couldn’t make the case. and publisher Oscar Distill. who. Taking a page from his World’s Fair bag of tricks. “with a prospectus written by Catherine.S. The Fair was only a two-year event. Zachary sought a more permanent job. Toward war’s end. hoped to relieve the suffering of Chinese people facing Japanese aggression. was considerably more satisfying.” Jobless in the spring of 1938. The following year. but Zachary recalls being “happily passed along from one place to another by very friendly guys who had never seen or heard of me. Zachary organized publicity events including rice bowl festivals and parades.A. New York was formidable in those days. the civilian agency that produced major propaganda for the U. organized and supported by Time czar Henry Luce and his wife Clair Booth Luce. and Victory. precipitating a major falling out between us. get back to Scheetz. with the first of two daughters on the way.A. and later worked on Photo Review. Zachary headed for New York City in an old Ford with $50 in his pocket. in less than a week. with the United States deeply involved in the war. who put out a magazine called U. As assistant director for the office of magazine publicity. “I went to see the big-money people. the largest peacetime publicity campaign in American history. Also working there in those days was illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans. Zachary. an admittedly slow writer. Zachary).” He worked in one of those legendary bullpens where thirty other would-be writers were trying to make a living while pursuing careers as short-story writers. Zachary worked as an editor and picture coordinator for U. This humanitarian aid group.” he remembers. which handed out releases and arranged for stories and photo opportunities.
but owing to corporate growth problems it was ultimately rejected as unfeasible. buy a moribund travel magazine called Holiday and make Patrick the editor. After the war.. to trap light from a star fifty light years away to ignite a flame at the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon. I organized the biggest parade in the history of New York at that time—a hundred thousand people. I used people who helped create the atomic bomb. They did. Zachary decided to reinterpret his job by creating a forum for the professional and art photographer. most major publishers were proposing new magazines to capitalize on the resurgence of consumer advertising. however. the publishers of Saturday Evening Post.” Quite an intimate friendship developed between the two.” They eventually collaborated on Portfolio. a general-interest magazine later renamed People.Photography). “and was a superb photographer. about whom he says. hired Zachary to be senior editor of Magazine X. five thousand vehicles. was a magazine for the passionate home photographer.” recalls Zachary. 202 . as well as Modern Photography. but first. “who always wanted to do big things.” recalls Zachary. Curtis. for which he became the East Coast editor in 1945. then president of Coty. whose family owned Writer’s Digest in Cincinnati. and talked about it often. “We stretched a ribbon across Fifth Avenue loaded with gunpowder so that when the button was pushed the star would ignite the powder and cut the ribbon. Helen Levitt. I deployed two thousand police and firemen to make certain that every building along the parade route had turned off their lights between 9 and 10 PM so that the fireworks would be all the more impressive. Harry Callahan. He pounded the street for a while before being hired by Grover Whalen. Unfortunately. the Manhattan Project. Among his stories were features on established figures like Paul Strand. “Grover was a great showman. Ansel Adams. Its executive editor was Ted Patrick. I had the people who planned D-Day handle the logistics so that everything was timed to avoid traffic jams. and Arnold Newman. We both wanted to publish a good magazine on art and design. for whom Zachary had worked at the OWI. A dummy was presented to Curtis’s management. “I later honed my own art directing skills just by being around Brodovitch.” The event went off with only one hitch. and who was installed as the latter publication’s advertising salesman in order to learn more about the publishing business. who was organizing the fiftieth-anniversary celebration of the 1898 amalgamation of New York’s five boroughs into Greater New York. And we did them. Zachary left Modern Photography to work on something with the mysterious title Magazine X. But rather than cater only to the technical needs of amateurs. “George was a student of Moholy-Nagy in Chicago. leaving Zachary again without gainful employment. Harper’s Bazaar’s legendary art director. as well as new discoveries—all would later be employed in other magazines under Zachary’s tutelage. Another important friendship began at this time with George Rosenthal Jr. Also at this time Zachary wrote an article on Alexey Brodovitch.
McKnight Kauffer). “The format itself should be a graphic experience. During this time. a one-shot magazine on the folkways of jazz. my God. The cover was designed by Paul Rand. and Naked City. They wanted to produce a magazine that would be for America what Graphis was for Europe. These were the first of their kind to present good photojournalistic portfolios for just 25 cents. About the first issue.” Zachary recalls with fondness. Zachary says. with just the right amount of white space.” A subscription to the magazine cost $12 a year for four issues and they garnered a few thousand subscribers. at seven o’clock in the evening with the idea of how many pages we had for an issue. and lasted two years and three issues. In addition. often different sizes of the same piece. the governor. all of a sudden a spread materialized beautifully proportioned. I learned so many nuances of art directing just from watching him. “We got along very well because I let him have his head. Portfolio featured stories on graphic and industrial designers. and picture mass. and so on. He worked in the most fantastic way. He used the photostat machine like a note pad. Even their letterhead. “George and I spared no expense in buying the best paper and the best of everything else that we could. a pre-Kenneth Anger look at the foibles of the glitter capital. For example. in tiny increments that might vary from a quarter inch to an inch. Then we decided to sell advertising. The titles included Murder Incorporated. Zachary was also editor of Jazzways. poster artists (like E. He would also collect all the photographs and illustrations for the stories and dash over to Brodovitch’s office at Harper’s Bazaar to plan the issues. While Rosenthal worried about finances. the first book on the Mafia. Zachary’s primary job was to develop ideas and work with writers. You would see him surrounded by all these stats. the first collection of pictures by the famed New York 203 . designed by Paul Rand. and among the interior photographers was Bernice Abbott. we’re not going to mar our beautiful magazine with these cruddy ads. cartoonists. we hated the ads we got. was of the highest caliber.000 to print a 9 × 12. and how many would be devoted to each story. Well.” Portfolio premiered in late 1949. ‘Hell. Life and Death in Hollywood. He would get stats of every photo. all innovatively designed with taste and aplomb by Alexey Brodovitch. I would come in. blackening the faces of the mayor. suggested a collaboration that promised to be challenging and difficult. there was this magnificent layout. everything in scale. and Whalen. and stopping their watches too. “But he was no prima donna.’ We were terribly idealistic. type.we put a little too much powder in and it blew all over. only not so rigid in format. and Holy Christ. I would come back [the next day]. So we said. say. or from an inch to two inches. But as he put them down.” says Zachary. and a variety of cultural ephemera.” Zachary returned to magazines when his friend George Rosenthal Jr. Zachary and Rosenthal published paperback photo albums under the Zebra Books imprint. The elder Rosenthal put up $25. perfect-bound magazine on luscious paper and incorporating as special inserts everything from shopping bags to 3D glasses.
In most 204 . for “that would be too easy. but did have experience laying out pictures in the Zebra Books.” Through Holiday.” but rather discovered his own galaxy. Domenico Gnoli. Zachary was under-whelmed by the prevailing saccharine and sentimental illustrative approaches found in most American magazines. Tom Hollyman. The third and last issue of Portfolio was its most beautiful. which taught him the value of scale. If you have a great picture. “I learned the picture is the layout. and eyed Europe. And these were not just picture layouts in the conventional sense. specifically England and France. at a time when Zachary was stricken with appendicitis. however. Roland Topor. and Slim Aarons. Soon he developed a cadre of talented photographers who brought life to the magazine in the form of thematic picture essays.” he says. rather than incur further loses. Of course it came from Europe. Patrick offered Zachary the job of art director. artists like Ronald Searle. Andre Francois. So as Zachary worked with the pictures. Among them were Arnold Newman. Each sold between 150. resulted in a job as picture editor of Holiday magazine. ‘I’m okay. and Edward Gorey (one of the few native Americans practicing out of the mainstream) were given great latitude to develop their own stories and portfolios. Zachary even took Patrick to meet the White Russian. “Frank brought sophisticated illustration to American magazines. While photography was the backbone of Holiday. “Other art directors brought powerful or clever images. turned into a nightmare.street photographer Weegee. referring to his signature layouts. John Lewis Stage. but for some reason they did not hit it off and Patrick insisted that Zachary take the job at least temporarily. Ted. his former OWI boss. Zachary avoided using the reigning stars. but.000 copies. although its layout looked as if it had been made with a cookie cutter issue after issue. you don’t embellish it with big type. cinematic presentations. many of whom still work on Town and Country. This time a fateful meeting with Ted Patrick. George Guisti. illustration was its soul. “‘Jesus. decided to summarily kill Portfolio.000 and 250.’ I told him. with all profits pouring back into Portfolio. Fred Maroon. but why don’t you try to get Brodovitch? He’s the real master. Though financial problems did not weaken Zachary’s resolve to publish—he even approached Henry Luce to buy the magazine—George Rosenthal Sr.’” In fact. Robert Phillips. Noting the dramatic difference. he began to make his own layouts. You make it tight and sweet. The death of Portfolio in 1951 left Zachary jobless once again.” recalls Sam Antupit. Nearly fifty years have passed. for the surrealistic comic vision he was looking for. since in the early fifties there weren’t too many Americans practicing sophisticated pen work. but Frank brought an unprecedented sophistication. The dream of an exquisite. adless magazine had. taking a page from Brodovitch’s book. At that time Holiday was clean and orderly. and Zachary’s brainchild remains a landmark in the history of design. Zachary didn’t know much about typography.
’ so it balanced out. The first result was pretty straightforward. but Zachary left to take a job with McCann-Erickson. “who. the artists actually transformed themselves in this environment. under the famed advertising creative Mary Wells. there was a new group of managers at Curtis who named a new chief over Zachary. by the way.” A now classic example of environmental portraiture is a Zachary-directed photograph made for a special issue of Holiday on New York City showing the highways and parks czar and powerbroker Robert Moses standing omnipotently. to do a feature on something like the London hotel scene. Patrick died. “They gave us all raises. the chance to fill it with color. and what proved to be the last of the great reportages.” he says about working in a field that was foreign to him. who sympathized but did nothing. Abandoning his “baby” was not easy. “I would say to a photographer. headquartered in London but operated from New York. For several years before his death. They made me president of international advertising at Pritchard-Wood.” And Searle concurs: “Frank gave me a lot of firsts. There was only one problem. he had to assemble the components of the subject’s life. Off to Alaska! Cover all of Canada! Bring me ten pages on the dirty bits of Hamburg! No expense spared. Ted Patrick was editor of Holiday in name only. he changed his style.” It was. But this iconic photograph by Arnold Newman has life long after the magazine turned to dust. The years of travel for Frank gave me experience that cannot be bought. The shot illustrates Zachary’s willingness to expend a tremendous amount of effort to get that one perfect image for an issue whose shelf life is decidedly short. who ran the magazine both editorially and visually. Then he probably always called Arnold Newman ‘Ronald.” Zachary also developed what he calls “environmental portraiture. and Zachary admits he “was confident that I would succeed Ted as editor.” Zachary and other editors objected to the cheapening of the magazine and urged the president of Curtis to intercede. . the freedom to travel. I want to see a whole lot of his paintings in the background and on top of that I want to see his castle in the background. “To this day. however. Says Zachary. on a red girder over the East River. I don’t know what they expected of me. From around 1959 to 1969 he gave me all the space one could dream of. . so I asked him to satirize or just make it funny. and made me managing editor . if precariously.” remembers Zachary. he was very ill and relied entirely on Zachary. a pretty fine agency with nine offices. ‘If a guy is a multimillionaire painter. for by his own admission Zachary knew and cared little about advertising. “I got people like Ronald Searle. a difficult experience. becoming the Searle that you and I know today. was drawing pretty straight at the time. too.cases. and almost overnight. In 1964. but it became intolerable.” which is common in today’s magazines but was startlingly unique in the early 1950s. which was his primary 205 . he always called me ‘Arnold’ instead of Ronald.” Instead. and was not a very good salesman.’ A photographer just couldn’t walk in and take a picture of a subject.
resold. was rewarded with a magazine of his own called Status. which had grown out of something called Diplomat. Al Scully. until in 1969 he was asked to return to Holiday as its art director. The center was to be a laboratory for experimentation with new advertising approaches. He hired Patrick O’Higgins as art director with whom he “made a great team. One of the popular canards in the magazine racket goes. if its look is improved—if the cosmetics are freshened—the magazine will regain its spritely complexion.responsibility. again jobless—but wiser. “But it had the potential for expanding its readership because it was not just about parties and debutantes. His colleagues on this elite. converting it to an amusing. In late 1970 he was hired as art director of a lackluster Travel & Leisure. a fancy title for a group that was supposed to be a hothouse of advertising practice.” The focus shifted from strictly reporting on social doings to a mix of themes. including satirical pieces on class and society. But the changes came too late to reverse the deleterious market trends. All the experience that he had acquired over the years suddenly came together with this one assignment. Zachary eventually had a falling out with the publisher and after a year’s worth of issues. And he did put a remarkable team of talents together to make the best travel magazine on the market. who had helped in the initial acquisition deal. Holiday was eventually sold. done very much with tongue in cheek—in the manner of the old Vanity Fair (and predating by a decade the revival of the new Vanity Fair).” he says. Zachary stayed on for three years. a struggling little lifestyle magazine.” The editorial mix was exciting. but about the rich who had the power to do things. project included Bill Backer. Zachary was asked back by the same editor who superceded him earlier to do what he should have been allowed to do in the first place. He used this opportunity to effectively change this bible of high society to reflect his wit and concern for the human condition without abandoning the core audience. he left. literate society magazine. but turned sour when the breakthroughs they proposed were ignored or rejected. They were. where he stayed for over a year. Hence. imbuing it with the kind of photography and illustration that was his signature and that by this time had become a standard in other magazines too. He would have been happy to stay at T&L had he not been offered the job of editor-in-chief of Hearst’s Town and Country. If a magazine is on the skids it must be the art director’s fault. It was Zachary who promptly changed the name to Status and had Salvador Dalí design its logo. He lasted eight months until being moved laterally at McCannErickson into the Center for Advanced Practice. and died. I believed. As editor. entertaining. Zachary was free to pump in all the energy he wanted. And Zachary. the graphics were excellent. “I knew it was a society magazine. somewhat idealistic. an audience ready for socially motivated articles. The only problem was that the magazine was never given enough capital support to succeed. and Henry Wolf. “My satirical side isn’t savage or 206 .
“it’s fun satire . . not a designer per se. who worked for Zachary for over three decades. But how did being a former art director affect the way an editor-in-chief commanded other art directors? “I merely represented the experience of an old hand.” explains Zachary modestly. Zachary is a rare breed of editor/art director. in the face of formats based on the planned clutter and chaos most magazines celebrate today.mean.” confides Zachary. but I have always been interested in the photograph as a medium of communication. [that doesn’t] tear people apart but can be amusing and witty. I did not interfere with typographic matters.” 207 . .” says former Life photographer Slim Aarons.” Zachary’s confidence in his staff and contributors results in a decidedly unique product—one that maintains certain traditions while breaking new ground. who has always wanted to publish a truly sophisticated satiric journal. “I’m a journalist. In fact. “Town and Country is probably the only national magazine that still does original photo essays. and I tried to make certain that a picture was used to tell a concrete story. Zachary firmly believes in the viability of a traditionally well-placed and planned editorial well in which the photo essay is a major storytelling tool.
chron. Alex Bogusky is executive creative director at the Miami advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B). Computer Reseller News. Recent projects include the Houston Chronicle and its Web site. Premiere.” 209 . and Tages Anzeiger (Zurich). including newspapers. New York Magazine. Rumbo. Before starting out on his own. Computerworld.com. which has four editions in Texas and is expected to expand to California this year. and Televisa (esmas. and A Designer’s Guide to Outstanding Photoshop Effects (How Books). and magazines around the world.Contributor Biographies Gail Anderson is art director of SpotCo in New York and co-author of Graphic Wit (Watson-Guptill). He was the design director for the Boston Globe Magazine and part of the team that won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for a special magazine section titled “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age. They designed influential Web sites for MSNBC. Univision. and author of Spec (Princeton Architectural Press). and Info World. He helped launch the Spanish-language daily.com. magazines. Peter Buchanan-Smith is the art director of Paper magazine and the Ganzfeld. Black was chief art director of Newsweek. newspapers. Elisabeth Biondi is the visuals editor of the New Yorker magazine. a Paris weekly publication. Kompas (Jakarta). the New York Times. Esquire. Ronn Campisi specializes in publication design. He has designed the formats for PC Magazine. Over the last sixteen years. Stéphane Bréabout is art director of Zurban magazine.com). and books. The Savage Mirror (Watson-Guptill). Roger Black has designed Web sites. Black and his team have worked on Reader’s Digest. and Rolling Stone.
and Childrenswear). Opera News. and is on the faculty of the MFA Design Program at the School of Visual Arts. Since then. Violet and Penelope. design director. and creative director for many publications. Ken Carbone is a principal of Carbone Smolan Associates in New York. Her work includes book design. including Flea Market Fidos. In addition. B. where she did national print advertising for Polo Ralph Lauren (Menswear. she has been art director of Metropolis. 210 . Details. Now she works on freelance projects and cares for her two daughters. and articles about education and visual culture.ulcercity. Redbook. where she served as a photography judge for the National Magazine Awards. She has been art director. D. Brian Collins is the creative director of the Brand Integration Group at Ogilvy & Mather in New York. ESPN Total Sports. including Euro Deco: Graphic Design Between the Wars. as well as a member of the Art Directors Club. a “magalog” for teens. and was Creative Director of RL GIRL. A past president of the Society of Publication Designers. He currently teaches at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Dowd is professor of visual communications at Washington University in St. Chip Fleischer is the publisher of Steerforth Press in Vermont. information and brand systems. Polo Sport. Phyllis Cox is currently the associate creative director for Bloomingdale’s. an animation development firm (www. AIGA. and the National Arts Club. Nancy Cohen’s first job after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania was at Self. and New Woman. and is in charge of the home division in marketing. She then became art director at Carlson and Partners Advertising. Heather Corcoran is assistant professor of visual communications at Washington University in Saint Louis and principal of Plum Studio. Louise Fili is principal of Louise Fili Ltd. and co-author of over a dozen books on design. she is a member of the American Society of Magazine Editors. including American Film and Bride’s. she is a painter and a designer of jewelry and furniture.com). She also has designed Web sites and books. Louis and illustrator and director for Ulcer City Motion Graphics.Bob Ciano is former art director for Life magazine. New York. and the New York Times.
He has also written and directed commercials. His essays are found at www. and was senior creative director for The Children’s Place. Strauss and Giroux. City of Angels.com and www. working on the Polo/Ralph Lauren national advertising. Scott Hawley was an art director and copywriter at Carlson & Partners. Lilly Kilvert is a film production designer. and others have been recognized by the AIGA. and Phaidon Press. the trade paperback division of Alfred A. In addition. She earned her second Oscar nomination for her work on Edward Zwick’s The Last Samurai. which he founded in 1987 as a design and advertising agency specializing in the theater and entertainment industries.Vince Frost is the principal of Frost Design. where he oversees 250 book covers a year. Drew Hodges is principal/creative director of SpotCo in New York. The Ghosts of Mississippi. and the forthcoming Graphics Today.blogspot.scotthawley. Additional film credits include Heart Breakers. She has collaborated with filmmaker Rob Reiner four times. The studio specializes in creative direction and brand development.com. as well as done work for Nokia. He has also written about design. covering an array of topics ranging from the history of Grove Press to contemporary skateboard graphics. His designs for Vintage. and ID magazine and are featured in the books Next: The New Generation of Graphic Design. a design studio with offices in Brussels. Barcelona. he was the art director for Grove/Atlantic. Art Directors Club. for which she received an Academy Award nomination. Dimitri Jeurissen is a principal at Base. The American President. Nike. She previously worked with him on Legends of the Fall. New York. Sony. Alfred A. a division dedicated to creative writing. Kim Hastreiter is the editor of Paper magazine. Polydor. and The Sure Thing. Farrar. The Crucible. Steven Heller is art director of the New York Times Book Review and co-chair of the School of Visual Arts MFA Design Program. He has designed and art directed Big and Zembla magazines and The Independent and The Financial Times. Previously. John Gall is the art director for Vintage/Anchor Books. New York. created BEople—a magazine about Belgian culture—and established BaseWORDS. it has produced its own products. San Francisco. Knopf. Less Is More. for which she was nominated for the Art Directors 211 .blogspot. Knopf. Print. Nonesuch Records.thelizadiaries. and Madrid. Grove Press. Graphis. Hawley was the senior creative director for Gap. designing the sets for The Story of Us. New York.
where projects included magazine redesigns and prototypes. She has won numerous awards for her work. Her campaign for the Indian Cancer Society won several awards and has been featured in David Ogilvy’s book. 212 . where her major clients included Xerox and UNICEF. She has worked in publishing for more than twenty years and has held senior editorial positions at Vogue. She describes herself as a free spirit. and Organic Style. including the American Society of Magazine Editors’ Ellie award. Yahoo!. as deputy art director of Life magazine. which include InStyle magazine’s special issues. and the Society of Illustrators. Working out of their downtown Manhattan office.. Sharon Okamoto worked for Walter Bernard and Milton Glaser at WBMG. Later she worked as special projects art director on all Time special issues. Robert Priest is the principal of Priest Media. Strange Days. (MGI). Peggy Northrop is the editor-in-chief of More magazine. Awards and recognitions include those from the Society of Publication Designers. Lauren Monchik lives in New York. American Illustration. Vicki and Gail have a small and highly respected agency that enjoys an attentive partnership with over thirty illustrators in six countries. More magazine. before setting up her own creative boutique. Emily Potts is the editor of Step magazine. where she likes to make things and see things other people have made. and the literary bimonthly Oxford American. Redbook. a dreamer. Late for Dinner.A. Victoria Maddocks is the design director of Kiehl’s.Guild Award. the Art Directors Club. Vicki Morgan and Gail Gaynin are long-time friends and independent representatives who merged their talents in 1995 to form Morgan Gaynin Inc. a champion of lost causes and lost donkeys. She was creative director for Ogilvy & Mather in India. I Love You to Death. Real Simple. Ruthless People. She currently heads her own corporate communications company called Resonance. At Time magazine. and To Live and Die in L. In the Line of Fire. she was associate and later deputy art director. Glamour. Jack the Bear. an independent design practice with a wide range of publication clients. Inc. Communication Arts. She also redesigned Working Mother magazine. Ogilvy on Advertising. Sunita Khosla has over thirty-five years of experience in advertising.
and Eye and has been a contributing editor for magazines about the visual world. She has been an editorial art director at publications such as Time magazine’s International Editions. a job-listing service for editorial art directors and designers. Laetitia Wolff. A columnist for Step magazine and a feature contributor to Graphis and other design magazines. She is the author of the Design Focus book series (Gingko Press) and has curated a number of exhibits. and culture for such publications as Print. where she lectures on designing successful newsstand covers. Worth magazine. She believes design makes ideas visible. she has art directed such publications as Esquire. Details. 213 . she teaches a course in design criticism. She is on the design faculty of the Stanford Professional Publishing Course. Eye. marketing consultant. Michael Ulrich is the art director of Step magazine. and formerly the editor-in-chief of Graphis. Metropolis. including best-selling The Art of Doing Nothing (Clarkson Potter). including the first-ever retrospective of the graphic artist Massin. The author of several books. and author who has written extensively on design ethics and business practices. a French fashion quarterly. In addition. Benjamin Savignac is art director of DEdiCate magazine. Aperture. who is currently senior design editor at Surface. Ina Salz is an associate professor of electronic design and multimedia at the City College of New York and the founder of InaNet. she lives in Brooklyn.Rhonda Rubinstein is the creative director of the San Francisco design studio Exbrook. ID. design. A board member of the Society of Publication Designers. France. among other design-related topics. and Mother Jones. and Print. Previously. where she develops and packages editorial ideas. and changes how people see and act in the world. Rhonda is currently creative director for United Nations World Environment Day 2005 and recently developed the San Francisco issue of Big magazine. the creative conduit through which she consults on design. Véronique Vienne is a creative director. artdirected. One of her current projects is a Massin monograph for Phaidon Press. is the founding director of futureflair. Rhonda writes about photography. and Paris. she chairs the Magazine of the Year Award. Graphis. and WorldBusiness magazine and has consulted at the New York Times Magazine and BusinessWeek. and design trends. A faculty member of the School of Visual Arts design program. culture. Ina is a frequent lecturer and a judge for a number of design competitions. Emigre. New York. She has edited. and written for high-profile design magazines such as Communication Arts. Golf magazine.
and obesity. 98. 18 female. 21 in India. 111–114 art director/copywriter. 212 Art Director’s Guild Award. xvii as communicator of ideas. xvi wearing many hats. 186 tools of. on respect and loyalty to staff. 22 marginalized. 210. xii as father figure. 39 curator. 22 instincts of. ideas from. 33 Liberman’s definition of. 95 term coined. 21 as inspiration to others. 3 for newspaper v. 114 aesthetic. xiv art nouveau. 211 Art Director’s Liberation Front. xvi. 37 duties of. Stuart. 213 art patron. 178 authority of. 112 as chef. 47 for publishing. xiv. 210 American Illustration. xv employment. 128 role of. Knopf. ix expertise of. 211. x. 22 as orchestra conductor. on staff management. 20 as journalist. Ludwig. 140 Art Directing (Cowles). xvii as good listener. 33 preserving company’s view. 60 Agres. visual drama in. 21 advice for art directors. 144–146 as storyteller. on mentoring skills. x as tyrant. Yves. 20 as involvement with forms. 20 as guru. 186 appropriateness. 112 primary responsibility of. 75 Baron. xviii with editors. xiv as maverick. xviii Baer. 186. 211 Bernbach. 29. Gail. 140 The Art of Doing Nothing (Vienne). 18 humanitarian. 189. 21 “intelligence of heart” in. See American Institute of Graphic Arts Alex (Kazanjian and Tomkins). 190 art direction as byproduct of other pursuits. xviii as center of universe. 211 alternative media of 1960s. 211 American Society of Magazine Editors. 35 Bemelmans. xii. 34 American Film. xi Bauhaus. xi collaboration of editor and. 22 as production design. 31 art director as art patron. xv. magazine. Fabien. 76 orchestrating ideas. 78. definition of “brand. 27 result of trial and error. xii with production crew. 211 Batali. 180. 37 Armario. 191 Aperture. Pam. 188 Avant Garde. 154 curator as. 168. 24 Base (company). xvi as motivator. 168. 190 Beard. 154–155 as protector of idea integrity. 101 Barnes. 51 Baron & Baron. 64 Alfred A. 102 214 . xiii as team player. 23 American design. 186–187 as catalyst for others’ talents. 59 compromise of. 65–73. 30 Art & Antiques. 16 types of. 154 editor’s relationship to. xi ideas from clientele for. 31 Art Director’s Club of New York. xv– xvi as baseball pitcher. unaware. 209 Antupit. 178 art solution. 194 advertising industry. 198 learning from other designers. 103 of weekly magazine. 201 BEople. xvii definition of. 37 Agha. 213 Apparel Arts. xi as storytelling. 22 inspiration from clients for. 24 Behar. xvii competencies required for. 39 precision work of. 63 as pointer. 21. Sam. 212 Anderson. xv. 27 AD. 188. David. 47 Art Student’s League. Richard. xvii. 11 function of. 42 as communicator of aesthetic. Peter. 33. William. as business solution. 20 as translator. 2 as scary word. Mehemed Fehmy. xiii birth of. 210. 36 definition of. Mario. xviii as storytelling.” 142 AIGA. 211 The American President. xiii with creative staff. xv. 99 art deco. 212 American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). 201 Berry. 200 subject to editor. 37 signature style of. 22 when to let go in. 46 advertising. Laura. 38 observer of life.Index Academy Award for Best Art Direction. 210. 102 art budget. design is about. 43–44 CEO approval for.
123–125. campaign designing for. 111 director. 24 Cézanne. 111–114. 59 celebrity photography. 210 Carlson & Partners. 49 Detroit issue. 13–16 Cohen. 34 contemporary. 40. European. 54 profitability as wearisome for. 45–48. 210 Carbone Smolan Associates.. 37 Black’s Ten Rules of. Modern. See teamwork creativity assembly line of. 33–34. color separation by. 213 Disney. 31. 6 Bloomingdale’s. Simeon. Eric. 209 Bride’s. 59 skills. 190 Cox. 32 low budget of. 111 Corcoran. publicity stock v. 65–66 Jeurissen on. 211 Carson. 10 Black. 163–167. Peter. 210 California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts). 209 branding Agres on. 210 creative director. 77 Maddocks on. 57 technology’s influence on. 100. 51 solution. 10 with political agenda. 2–3 215 . thinking about bigger issues. San Francisco. 124–125 male chauvinism in. Alex. 126–127 Communication Arts. ix Dorfsman. 211. 99 The Children’s Place. 58 Dowd. founder of. 210 Bogusky. 129–131 Boston Globe. 90 non-controversial. 59 content.B. xiv. 213 City of Angels. 63 Chen. 209 concept formation. 213 cover of. 186 transformation of fashion magazine by. 6–8 brief. 54 New Jersey issue. Anthea. as aid to seeing. 51. 4. 4–5 Design Focus (Wolff). 29. 50 creative director for. xiv Buchanan-Smith. New York. 186 dot-com era photography. Gardner. 2 Collins. Peter. xiv. 6–8 Blank. packaging v. 192 Biondi. 39 Ina Salz on. Will. 35 Domus. 202–204 at Harper’s Bazaar. 42 of ideas. 185–186. 2–3 Chan. 160. 161. 210 Broadway show. Lou. 165 Playboy. premier issue. 84–86. 209 Bitch. 100 blog. 129–131 Forbes. 11. Alexey. 213 company. 213 designers. Stéphane. 10 California College of the Arts. 11 Big. Charles. 195–198. 4 computer. 31 teamwork and. 37–38 Vienne on.. 186 clients. xiv. xv. 210 Citizen Kane. 209 budget. art solution as. 63 Death in Venice. 210 commercial arts. 20 study of. See Condé Nast Publications coed staff.” xv. 211 curator. 28 City College of New York. 142 Hodges on. 34 Details. 47 Business Week. 198 collage.” 23 Dizney. 39–44. 4 Condé Nast. Joe. 98. 210 drawing. David. Edna Woolman.Bertelsmann Corporation. 55 Cowles. 98 Burtin. 190 magazines. Neville. Aric. 209 Cristobal. 209 Computer World. 98 Dog. xvii clear. 63. 23 collaboration. advice from. 49 Los Angeles issue. D. 121 walking and. xiv. Phyllis. 55 Campisi. 50 book. 211 Cleland. dense. 32 Crispin Porter and Bogusky (CP+B). 28 cover Big. 101 Bust. 42 introduction of no-headline. 57 The Crucible. 102 tips. 211 Ciano. 31. 37–38 job of. expertise in mentoring. 209 black. 142–143 Bréabout. 188 copy. 59 Collin. 186 DEdiCate. 20. Ken. 33 Child. 24 decoration. 209 book cover. Elisabeth. 134 Harvard Law bulletin. 213 design appropriateness. 51. use in design. Nancy. 197 More. 112 Paper. “Do It Yourself. 191 Life. 164. photo session. Roger. Robert. Jenelle. 171. 21 Carbone. 51 San Francisco issue. xii–xiii Cooper Union. 190–191 Brody. 210. 104–110. 4. 10 Condé Nast Publications (CNP). 104–110. xi. 6. 191 Colaciello. New York. 103 low. xiv good. 57–58 The Big Idea. ix. 12. 42. 48 CNP. 88. 185–194 creative teamwork. Jessica. Heather. 210 costume designer. 31. 2 communication abundance of. 57 Creative Revolution. 210. 71 Brodovitch. 192. 41 Covino. Thomas Maitland. New York. 64 DIY. Paul. 36 Daves. 44 Computer Reseller News. 210 Coiner. 212. xiv. Bob. 99 of aesthetic. 5. layout as. 191 business solution. fine arts’ role in formation of. 176 Regional Review. 196 Gap. 139–141. 4 with enthusiasm. 35 Chase. Brian. 54 Junemann. 37 compositional problem. 6 Black’s Ten Rules of Design. 209 cancer detection. 119–122. “too self-conscious. Ronn. 10 proposal.
for sports. 211 Graphis. 124 George. 186 Golf. John. 210 film art director. Kim. 190. 212 Glaser. 1–3 of Wolff. 210 European design magazines. 170–173 ELLE and. 144–145 Henderson. 23 eclectic staff. on weekly meetings. See also communication. Vince. Françoise. 189 Frost Design. 27 film cameraman. 98 Frankfurt. Scott. 210 Esquire. Steve. 73 on maintaining campaign vision. 189–190 Felker.. 98 From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor (Femina). 211 on branding. 23 food as art. ix. 39 Geo. 211 Gallant. Janet. Milton. 213 exhibition.” 195 Vienne on. 192 “goal-oriented play. 209 Graphics Today (Gall). 174. Louise. influence of. 72 on SpotCo. 203. formal schooling. Brad. 17 Federico. 172 House & Garden. 39–44. 211 Gibbons. on hiring. 30 Femina. ix. 204–205 Holland. 12–17 Hoffman. Xavier. 54. 209. Inc. 18 Heart Breakers. 190–191 fashion photographer. 211 Guideposts Publications. 213 The Great Ziegfield. 32 origin of. 146 of Biondi. xiv Fella. 48 female director. 28 Fili. 146 value of “hands on. 211 Frouman. Marie. Scott. 27–29 The Financial Times. 186. 170–172 Heller on. 28 good design. Steven. 189 French reality-TV show. 2 Flair. 31 source of. Dwight. 156–158 on signature style. Michael. Perry. Gary. Jim. 213 Entertainment Weekly. 213 Euro Deco: Graphic Design Between Wars (Fili). Frank. message art director as orchestrator of. 35 Hershey’s chocolate. 151–153 on competencies of art directors. 213 Gadge. 192 feminist movement. Hélène biographical brief of. 210 Fluxus. Alan. 30 film production. 99 Holiday. 47 216 . 172 Glamour. 213 Gone with the Wind. 128–132. 139–141 on history of The Big Idea. 168. 24 Ganzfeld. xi The Ghosts of Mississippi. New York. 59. 21 client’s needs fulfilled by director’s. 168–173 Emigre. 112. 100 of photographer. lack of female. 33. 186. xiv. 63 Harrison. 28–29 film production designer. Ed. 126–127. 37–38. 212 generational differences. 198 of film production designer. 1–5. 211 on art director/editor relationship. xviii Eschliman. Bob. 209 Gap. 28 Giroud. See Creative Revolution Harper’s Bazaar. 211 Hawley. Drew. 47 from clients.East Village Other. as art director. xviii of Savignac. 209 hucksterism. 211 fine arts. 115–118 on learning via osmosis. xiv. 59 Houston Chronicle. See office environment Eros. 170 hard sell. history of concept. 211 Grove/Atlantic. 211 fashion magazine. Steven. 33 of Gordon-Lazareff. 112 Graphic Wit (Anderson). 71 on solving client’s concerns. xvii–xix of Liberman. 185–194 on illustrators. 33–34 Eye. 94. 101 Hachette Filipacchi Media. 42 education in 1950s. 20 Hurlburt. 63 Hastreiter. 124–125 Exbrook. in visual processing. 47 hierarchy. 99 Hodges. 123–124 doing v. 181. ix–x. advice from. 111 French “style. xviii on magazine coverlines. 189 human touch. 133–137. 213 Farrar. 168–173 Goupy. 61–62 through osmosis. Jean. 211 Frost. 46 manufacturing process of. 211 Gaynin. 65 Hoenig. 210 Fleisher. 186 Gall. role in formation of commercial arts. 104. 55 ESPN Total Sports. 128. 109–110. Gene. 212 ID. 33 art director as protector of. Chip. 33 ELLE. Cedric. 186. 100–101 futureflair. 191 I Love You to Death. ix. 211. 186. 199. xviii Horvat.” 32 Goldberg. 211. 23. 98 Zisk on. 34 Fortune. 65–66 on expectations from staff. 43 hiring Grossman on. xv. 200 editorial director. Ara. 28 formal. 29 film directors. 55 Golden. 100 Grove Press. 211 Heller. 119–120 Salz on. 187–188 art school. 111. Malcom. 12–16. 10 Fergusson. 47 art director providing business. 188. 99 environment. 1–2 editor. 159. xvii on decoration. Jerry Della. Gail. 28 Grossman. 213 ideas.” 2 Froelich. 190 Gordon-Lazareff. 211 Hearst. ix–x. Clay. cannot replicate. 13–17 École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD). San Francisco. 11. on collegial approach. William. 179 Flea Market Fidos (Cohen).
of art director and illustrator. 57 layout. 210 National Geographic. 63 Life. Helmut. 209 Next: The New Generation of Graphic Design (Gall). 102 newspaper design linear thinking for. 212 InaNet. 172 leadership. Dan. Glen. 39 newspaper v. 43 magazine designer. x In the Line of Fire. 194 Nokia. 210. 191 National Arts Club. Antoine. amalgamation of. 119 Messina. 13–16 sports. 201–202 Moholy-Nagy. xiii. in design. xi malleable structure of. 24 Mapplethorpe. xiv Kieffer. 23 Maddocks. 39 visual personality of. 186. 194 Look. 22 InStyle. Lippincott Company. 200 Jeurissen. for lowercase. Leo. 210 New York. 189 Luce. 188 magazine design European v.. 87. 211 Northrop. Buonarotti. 9. 189 The Last Samurai. 191. 20. 212 Moss. 39 like restaurant. Herb. 100–101 Menzies. 79. xi. 173 marriage. 43 image construction of. 213 Motorola. xxiv. Pierre. Martha Massin. 88. advice for art directors. 48 media. 212 Jazzways. 211 The New York Times Magazine. Walter Thompson ad agency. 211 Nike. 5. 212 obesity design issues of. 157. instigated by art curator. 59–64. 186 Jack the Bear. 40 magazine-like sections of. 212 “intelligence of heart. 98 Michelangelo. Tatiana. 59. Marcelo. Victoria. 59 More. 27–30. 101 J. 24 Marie Claire. Jackie. Dimitri. 212 Kilvert. xiv maverick. local. Tobias. 139–140 L’Oreal. photography v. 209 narrative picture essay. of typography. 204 Lazareff. 63 Modern Photography. 209 information options. 48 Ms. 212 Laude. xvi McKinley. 21 instinct. 191 Loewy. Art. 40 newspaper design v. 91. 209 Newman. 203 J. 57 National Magazine Awards. left/right brain and. 33–34 inspiration. Robert. 213 male chauvinism. 18 Junemann. 211 job. 24 McLaren. xv Magazine of the Year Award. 37 invention of two-tiered. Luba. 126–127. 202 Monchik. Sunita. 18 217 . 51 Nonesuch Records. 40 Legends of the Fall.. Chip. Tibor. See Stewart. 212 Morgan. 186. 75–78. 16 Maciunas. xiv. Bruce. 212 Kidd. on management skills. American. 4–5 global. Robert. creativity on. Adolf. 211 Kompas (Jakarta). 28 message. 9–11 MSNBC. 201 Mother Jones. László. 173 Kiehl’s Inc. Francesca. Williams Cameron. 39 technology for. ix Josephs. 209 The New York Times Book Review. 24 Kane. 186 Lois. 39 speed dictates. 186. 211 letter space. 90. 210 Lionni. 98 The New Yorker. 33 Interview. xii. 177 Mirabella. 186. 191 Liberman. George.. 211 The 1950s and Madison Avenue: The Creative Revolution in Advertising (Dobrow). 192 Khosla. 209 New York. 87. Oliver. 64 Mau. 157. 124–125 exhibition design compared to. 179 Mann. from conversation. 210 New School for Social Research. Lilly. 101 Metropolis. Raymond. (MGI). 47 J.illustration. 171. 186. Clair Booth and Henry. Grace. 12. 23 intuitive design. 212 montage. 45–46 mentoring. layout as. 191 text and. 211 nondisclosure agreement. magazine. 106 intuitive judgment. 211 Late for Dinner. 211 Independent Saturday Magazine. 212 Morgan Gaynin Inc. 4 impact. 94 Indian Cancer Society. 7 Levinson. 35 macho reader.B. 23 office environment. 46 innovative discourse. 188 New Woman. 37–38. 2. Lauren. Henri. Crew. 32. art director. diversity of. 201 Lukova. 212 Madison Avenue. Vicki. 186. 23. George. Thomas. 210 Lubalin. xiv. Barry. 191 Loos. 20 Interiors. 213 Matisse. graphic artist. 37 Louise Fili Ltd. Peggy. 49 Kalman. 128–132. 34–35 poverty synonymous with. 202 The New York Times. Malcom. x. 12–16 journalistic teamwork. 189. compensation for. 118 Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. 37. ix International Design Biennale 2004. 98. 10.” art director’s. 212 Info World. 54 Liberman. xviii. 64 ambiance. eclectic staff ’s influence on. ix magazine illustrator. 33 expressive content of. 211 Less is More (Gall). 40 as right brain functioning. 99–100 journalism coed. Alexander. 213 The Independent. 213 Meyer. Maren. 209 Krone. 36 O’Brien. 39 Newsweek.
211 paperback book trade. 139 public policy. 58 sports. xiv. designers to address. 212. 211 Soupault. 24. 120. 210. 6 Pratt Institute. 174–180 promoting cultural change. Rob. 210 PM. 211. 100 on hiring. 17 photomontage. 194. Paul. 112 Rose. 42 sight. Pablo. 210. 2–3 Self. 23 Owens. 213 sociopolitical change. 101 Sandstrom. 37 shelf life. 106. as map. 104. Tony. 202 Perkins. 211. 186. Paula. 188. 103 on communication skills. 17. xiii production designer. 213 print world art director. 212 Redding. 209. 191 Playboy cover. 201 Salz. 100 Patrick. 40 Ritts. 64 Reader’s Digest. 211 Other Scenes tabloid. 209 Ruthless People. Emily. 177–180 commissioning fine art. 213 Scavullo. 125 photo essay. 212 O’Hara. as result of drawing. 24 Peters. 123–125 photography dot-com era. 100 on teaching. 51 San Francisco Focus. 59. 194 political agenda.” 59. 200 Okamoto. contemporary. 106 Paris. 99 inspiration for mentoring skills. 58 dot-com days of. 39 signature style. 1. 6–8 Rumbo daily. Herb. 211 request for design proposals. George. writer. 63 Rosenthal. Sharon. film art director compared to. Garth. 59 picture editor art director and. Playboy sanctioning. 10 Polo Ralph Lauren. 144–146 Silverman. sarcasm. Ronald. 2. 209 218 . William. 58 fashion. 90–92 Print. 178 Paul as art director of. 24 School of Visual Arts. Ina. 209 Roquemaurel. 17. 33–34 Sony. 204 Paul. 109 ideal art director for. design with. 140 Potter. 54 origin of today’s lifestyle. 35 Rockwell. 42 publishing headaches. 212 right/left brain. 180 Plum Studio. 207 San Francisco. 177 Rolling Stone. 139. 188 paste-up assistant. 210. 2 Paladino. 128 punk. 11 celebrity. use in design. 79 on relationship to art director. 188–189 Paper. 213 rules of design. exhibition curator and. 48. 111 Parsons School of Design. irony. Benjamin. 186 sexism. 101. 178 as Playboy art director. female. 211 Searle. 210 Roberts. 186. Arthur biographical sketch of. 209 Penny. 149. David.ideal. 43. Steve. New York City. Robert. Ted. 34 publication design. 64 Pensyl.. 205 seeing. 212 on art directing for design magazine. 99 San Francisco classic films set in. 48 Zachary’s. John. 210. 211 Portfolio. 213 on administrative manager. art directors with. 51 Resonance. 202. 154–155. Kurt. 199 postmodern art. 101 Priest Media. on wit. 35 “readability. 211 Polydor. See Creative Revolution Society of Illustrators. 98. 133–137 illustration v. 49. 102 on fostering openness. 188 Premiere. 24 RL GIRL. 43 for The New Yorker. 30 psychedelic style. Jr. 35 Saturday Evening Post. Clarkson. 47 Safranski. 203 art director collaboration with. 23 Push Pin Studios. 51 Oxford American. Norman. 98. 212 on redesign. 180 Shear.. 210. 201–204. 10 Potts. 209 Prevention. 209 Real Simple. 202–203 Rubinstein. 212 red. editor. 123–124 Pineles. 63 Reiner. 64 Patel. 191 Randall. Gerald de. 212 Ogilvy on Advertising (Ogilvy). 212 Oscar nomination. 190 RAGS. 210 self-taught. 124 education of. 51 Four Seasons Hotel. 79–83 on layout design. 24 hiring of. Francesco. 194 People. visual processing and. 173 Spec (Buchanan-Smith). Aurobind. Mark. 202 Savignac. 27 product. Josephine. 57 distilled into printed page. 174 sexism sanctioned by. Berry Berenson. 123 editor-in-chief and. 212 page layout. 212 Opera News. 199 Ogilvy & Mather. 146–148. 119–120 picture editor and. Helene. well-articulated. 54 Phaidon Press. Alexandra. 213 photographer. Bill. 210 Organic Style. 23 Rand. 212 ruthlessness. Philippe. 83 Poynter’s Eyetrack III study. ix Seventeen. 102 on art directors as managers. Barbara. 212 Society of Publication Designers. 97–99 on budgets. Cipe. on expertise in mentoring. 176 fine art turned commercial. 48 smart sell. Rhonda. 63. 63 Picasso. 6–7 Redbook. 17 unconventional. 212 Priest. 174–180 PC Magazine.
211 style Collins on. ix. 7 Thompson. 57 well-art-directed periodical. xiv word people/image people. Marc. 194 When Advertising Tried Harder (Dobrow). Bradbury. 48 noise in. 192–193 Wolff. Diana. 213 Swiss Style. 212 Webb. xiv. 31–32 ideal. 33–34. Mary. David. 181 Storch. 2 work environment egalitarian. 191. 32 talking in. 213 Worth. 209 219 . 17 Sports Illustrated. 195 typefaces. x “event” in. 94. 201 Time. xii language. 212. Vermont. 23 Vintage. editorial. 24 visual assembly. P. xi–xii early experiences with design. 16 typography. 22. 211 Weegee. 20. 192 The Story of Us. 46. 209 Ten Rules of Design. 139 tableau. ix on layout. James. 139 signature. Véronique. 10 Helvetica. as road signs. 186. 111–114.. 43 Straight Arrow Publishing Company. art director as. 63. Noah. 21. ix. 38 psychedelic. 210 Vanity Fair. 199–207 environmental portraiture of. 8. 211 staff. James. 31.Spicer. 209. 205 signature layouts of. unlikely.” x Vogue. Frank. 186. 178–179 Wolf. 24 Website. 24 Cheltenham. 54 sports chick. xiii personality. Luciano. Laetitia. 186. 98 Washington University. Rochelle. x training for eye. 34 The Sure Thing. 149–150 on typography. Bruce. 30. 203 Zembla. 59. 192. 54. 9 What’s the Big Idea: How to Win With Outrageous Ideas That Sell (Lois). 58 impact of. 23 Strange Days. 43 thinking. x–xi. 212. Mary. 18 meetings. 213 on art director as chef. 204. 183–184 word-picture arrangements of. Henry. 203–204 Weidenbaum. 12–16 photographer.” 142–143 surviving judging-designby-committee. 212 Vogue art department. 4. 99 Zurban. 30 marriage of editorial and. 99 SpotCo. 59.. use in design. tip for hiring designers. 12 iconography. 210 WBMG. 183 Diderot and. 211 Visconti. 18 Super Size Me. 144–146 Swiss. 18 Televisa. 98 Warhol. 104.G. 41 intelligence. 212 World Business. x Udell. 213 University of Pennsylvania. xii magazine as “vibe.. Black’s. 79 Ulricksen. 211 Surface. x Village Voice. 102 no-hierarchy. 57 Tages Anzeiger (Zurich). xii visual processing generational differences in. 111 Town and Country. 10 Trade Gothic Bold Two. 171 walking. through teamwork. 209. 60 trust. 31–32 Staley. 212 tone. 43 Wells. 178 Warner Books. 209 team player. 213 Steerforth Press. 95 teamwork. 48 Vienne. 102 Stanford Professional Publishing Course. 63 Ulrich. Inc. creativity and. 213 Writer’s Digest. 23–24. 211 Zisk. Mark. 186 Victore. 4. 213 Woodward. 212 Zachary. 101 UNICEF. Fred. 4 drama. 16 as essential skill. 6–8 text. 29 in journalism. 121 in film-making. 32 Working Mother. Martha deferred domesticity. 182 refusing to talk down to readers. 39 sight and.A. 18 popularization of. 1. 2 Maddocks on. 205 Wesleyan College. Mary. 22. Louis. Andy. 213 Stewart. 210 Step. 213 To Live and Die in L. 24 Busorama. St. 202 Xerox. 39 “visuals editor. xiv. 140 Sabon. 95. 47 French. 63 Vreeland. 55 Weber. Michael. 206 Travel & Leisure. 186 Weir. 32 Wall Street Journal. 212 United Nations World Environment Day 2005. 188 white. ix. 102 Truman. 27. photographer. 211 storytelling. 212 Strauss and Giroux. 7 Broadway. Lynn. 16 journalism. See also teamwork like family. 4 for ESPN Magazine. Otto. 139 success. color-saturated. 188 success through. 46. 6 Wodehouse. 211 Vintage/Anchor Books. 204 Zebra Books. 57 Weintraub Advertising Agency. 6. x words.
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